Heavy breathing. Muscles tugging, pushing and groaning. Nose running. Thoughts swirling. Metal hits snow and metal hits cement and metal hits brick. Rhythm develops and my mind becomes focused. Feelings pushed down while work takes over. Sun warming at least a foot of sparkling snow. I work while the neighborhood works and awakens. Motor noise takes over the air along with the smell of gasoline. Distant snow blowers making quick of the work called snow. I swallow envy and look longingly, lovingly at upright backs pushing machines that make light of snow piles and throw it to easily to the side.
Head down. Shovel shoveling. Finding rhythm again and gratitude for a body able to move and be nurtured by exercise. Pausing more. Resting more frequently. Looking at what has been accomplished and what is still yet to do. Feelings pushed down as work takes over. Snow blower motor noises continue, but come ever closer. My neighbor to the south. That blessed Mr. Hurst tackles that dreaded end of the driveway where snow plows hurriedly place road snow that has no where else to go. How does he know I hate shoveling the end of the driveway? He makes glittery powder of those huge heavy clumps of white snow and I have new energy.
New feelings and thoughts rise up and I let them float around and warm me up.My kind neighbor is showing what community does alive and in person. He simply did. He came along side. He helped without asking, complaining, or expecting payment. He saw a need and filled it. Metal hits snow and snow hits shovel. I find rhythm again and along with it important God prompts reminding me that the coming along side, and joining in kind of help makes all the difference. What was dreaded becomes pleasant. What seems to be a burden becomes an opportunity for generosity to be displayed. What seemed to be back breaking is now spirit lifting. No judgement. No suggestions of a better or different way. Just helpful, hands on work given.
He continues snow blowing down my sidewalk and down the block. I lose sight of him, but can still hear the whir of the motor. He travels to the next block and easily completes both sides of their corner lot sidewalks. He crosses Myrtle St. and is returning to our block. I hear him snow blowing, not only my next door neighbor’s two corner sidewalks, but the walkway to her house as well. Next, I hear him at the base of my driveway again and this time he clears over a third of my driveway. I shovel one end. He meets me where Michael parked our car early this morning. Back and forth. Back and forth. I find his eyes and share a joyful expression that I hope oozes all kinds of gratitude and kindness. I am so thankful! He’s covered in snow mist that clings to his clothes and face. He smiles back. He finishes his unassigned task, heads back down my driveway, and finds that the house on the corner of Cass & Baldwin could use some snow blowing too. He and snowblower working away. Helping. Being present. Joining in. Sacrificing time, money and energy to build community. Coming along side his neighbors. Showing our community love in action. He gets what it takes to make a difference. No words required.
I get to move my car from the middle of the driveway closer to the garage. The last bit of snow to be removed hidden underneath and between it’s four tires. I find the rhythm of shovel and snow once more. Sun shining. Snow sparkling. Muscles moving and now complaining, but heart exploding with joy!