Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Plowed In

Maryland is receiving record-breaking snowfalls this year.  And with the snow comes the dig out.  And with digigng out comes the snow plows.  (Which usually leads to more digging out.  It's a vicious circle.)  On one hand, I'm extreamly grateful for those men and women working to keep our roads clear.  On the other hand, it can be a frustrating waiting game, and then a sometimes more frustrating dig-out from what the plows leave behind. 

Let me be clear:  I'm thankful for the plows.  But the following thoughts came to me after I had to dig through another two feet of ice and snow that was plowed onto my driveway and sidewalk this morning...after I dug out Saturday...and Sunday...and dug out my parents...twice (The second time through at least six feet of snow sometimes four feet high.  Thank you plows)...and a family friend...and my neighbor.  *sigh*  I suppose they're not calling it the snowpocalypse for nothing.

In any case:  Deep thoughts from being plowed in.

Do it right the first time.  While digging myself back out from a new mountain of snow displaced from the middle of the street, I kept thinking...I wouldn't be in this position if the plow had got it all the first time.  Where possible, as much as you can, I think it's important to do a job right the first time.  Don't stop halfway through.  Clearing one lane isn't good enough.  If you stop clearing snow before you've reached all the way down to the pavement, you'll regret it later.  Do it right.  Do it all the way.  And do it the first time.  It's true in snow removal.  It's true in life.

Sometimes, it's more than one pass can handle.  Some messes, some habits, some projects...they take more than one pass.  For example:  record-breaking snowfalls.  Sometimes there isn't enough time (or enough strength) to just go and go until it's all clear.  When that's the case...be patient.  Do what you can.  Take care of the essential roads first.  Rest.  Then come back and clear some more. 

Where do you put this stuff?  We all have snow we need to plow.  "Stuff" that rains down and clogs our path and makes the way treacherous.  Stuff we need to tenaciously remove.  But where does it go?  When I shovel snow off my driveway, I'm careful to put it in my yard.  I can't just shovel it out in the street.  It takes some level of conscientious effort to make sure your mess doesn't end up in someone else's space.  But what happens when there's no room?  Shoveling back out today, I kept trying to be patient.  After all, it's not the plow's fault that the snow had to come off the road, and by pushing it off the road it ended up filling in all the spaces I had cleared.  The snow had to go somewhere.  (Though, it did make me think about kids who clean their room by stuffing everything in the closet.)  For issues that require a lot of clearing and re-working, I think we need to be extra patient with each other.  Stuff has to go somewhere. Which leads me to...

By our powers combined.  (We are Captain Planet!  Sorry.  Couldn't resist.)  I do some.  The plows do some.  I do some more.  Neighbors come together and bring to life the adage "many hands make light work."  It's a beautiful thing, even if it is a bit of a vicious circle at times.  Some piles we can't handle on our own.  And there are times when I know I'm being messy and spilling my mess into someone else's space.  (You know what I mean?)  But if I can extend a little patience and lend a helping hand, perhaps I'll find the same when I need it.

Every shovel-full helps.  This is the mantra that has kept me going.  No matter how small, every shovel-full helps.  Sometimes you may feel like you're facing down a mountain.  A mountain that keeps returning no matter how many times you clear it out.  But every shovel-full helps.  It may feel like you're on a treadmill, like you're fighting the same battle, like you're going no where fast. But that's not true.  While the pile in front of you may look the same, what you may not see is the growing pile on either side from the stuff you've already cleared and conquered.    Take heart!  Every teeny tiny bit is getting you closer to solid pavement and a clear road ahead.

Snowmageddon continues.  More snow is falling even as I type.  And I think I just heard a plow go by...

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