I went back to sleep.
Later, in the gray light of morning, I stared out at the first snow of the season. A wet quilt of heavy snow buried the still orange leaves scattered across my back patio; the branches that dropped during a wind storm over the weekend poke up through the snow like thin exclamation points on the weather.
I bundled into my coat, gloves, and hat and trudged into the bitter cold. I pulled a shovel out of my garage and proceeded to dig out of the two inches of frozen gruel.
What a way to start a Monday. I started with the front walk and then the sidewalk. I moved to the backdoor clearing a path to the driveway. Then I put my back into it and the main event.
Rain dribbled from the soupy sky. The morning moved on and I knew I would be late for work. Sweat mixed with the cold rain on my forehead and my muscles in my back and shoulders began to ache.
I felt impatient. Looming in the back of my mind came memories of Robert Frost’s poem “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening.” This beautiful, pensive poem is about the dark of winter and how it brings us closer to our own mortality.
I rested and leaned on the handle of my shovel.
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
My mood had changed and I finished my chore.