Sunday, March 5, 2023

A Walk To Remember!

Sitting here this morning looking out at yet more snow coming down, I have been given some time to once again reflect. So many thoughts are swirling through my head today. First of course is the question of  “will it ever stop snowing?” We have had well over 16 inches of snow in the past week, and we also have had the joy of freezing rain. Our driveway and road out to the highway is covered and frozen solid with a few inches of thick ice. Every time it melts a bit of the snow it just turns into more ice. It is as good of ice as any hockey rink out there.

Yesterday I volunteered to go get the mail. My Best Half has been doing that and going to the chicken coop daily using the tractor or his 4x4 truck. It’s just that thickly covered with ice these days. The kids and grandkids came by the other day and had to park down on the road and hike in. And one by one they did the banana peel slip and landed on the ground in a heap. I’m glad no one was too badly hurt, and it was a reminder to us that the tractor and truck are going to be our main modes of transportation through the yard and roads until we can see the gravel again.

But yesterday I decided to walk to the mailbox at the end of our driveway. It’s not super far, maybe a half of a block if it was in the City. It should take a couple minutes down and back. But yesterday it took about 10 or 15 minutes to walk that short distance. I started doing the penguin shuffle and though planning to wipe out  I made it to the turn around where it has a slight decline, I started gliding across the ice uncontrollably heading for a snowbank. Luckily I made it to the snowbank on the other side of the turn around and was caught by a crusty and hard packed icy snowdrift. That hurt way less than if I would have nose dived to the ground. I was able to stop myself and regroup and think on where to go for my next path to the mailbox. I was halfway there so figured there was no turning back at this point.

So much of this week we have been once again holed up in the house and doing projects and I will admit it, one day we both took a nap in the afternoon. I still am not sure if that was due to being tired or just plain boredom from being inside so much. Maybe that was my reasoning for walking the gauntlet in the driveway. So on I went. 

I found some slushy ice along the side of the road and took the path less traveled through the pine trees. I figured I could hang on to the branches if I started to go down. But the snow was over a few feet deep in the pines and as I tried to walk, my boot came off, leaving me with a bare foot to try and get back into my boot. After a few tries I got my wet bare foot back in my boot and climbed out of the knee deep snow and headed back towards the road. I reminded myself next time walking outside to put socks on before my boots. My foot was wet and cold and slightly numb.

Once on the road again I inched my way to the mailbox about 10 feet away. I lost my balance and started trying to recover, flapping my arms as if to fly out of the fall. Well, for once in my life I was able to recover and as I was slipping past the mailbox I lunged for it and stood there hugging that big old box as if we were long lost friends.

I stood there a few minutes trying to regroup and build up the courage to make the trek back to the house. I was kind of glad we live on a secluded dirt road where no people had to watch my walk to the mailbox. I looked at the mail and realized that I had spent this whole scary slippery walk  down to the mailbox just to pick up a handful of junk mail and advertising! 

After a few moments mustering up the courage to walk back to the house, I started to head in that direction by way of the other side of the driveway. In calculating the trip back, I realized the other side of the driveway had the trailer, the camper, the kayak trailer, and the sun shining and melting the driveway into more slush than ice. 

So slowly I skated across the driveway and grabbed onto the welcome sign a few feet from the camper. I then made it to the camper and gave it a hug, caressing it and telling it that come Summer we would be spending some time together. I then lurched ahead to the utility trailer parked next to it and stood there for a minute trying to figure out my next steps.

After debating if I wanted to venture into more deep snow, I bypassed the deeper snow where the kayak and trailer were resting. But I did take a second to longingly wish it well through the remainder of Winter. And I promised many trips to the water  with it…come Summer. 

I ventured back on the driveway as I once again approached the turnaround area. But this time I wasn’t sliding downhill. It was a gentle slope upward. I took a few steps and slid back down. So I decided to climb it like a big hill and started zig zagging back and forth as I made it up the small incline. I was feeling a bit cocky about making it across the turnaround. And then realized I was only halfway back to the house.

Focusing back on the rest of the ice road I had to walk, I aimed for the vehicles in the driveway and latched on to the back of the Big van…over to the 4x4…and finally to the minivan door handle. I opened the minivan and just sat down for a minute to gather my nerves. I had made it to the mailbox and back and hadn’t wound up on the ground. Granted my foot was still pretty soaked and cold, but no falls this trip.

As I made my way the last 10 feet into the house I was greeted by the dogs and my Best Half. He asked if there was any good mail. I said no that it was all in the recycling bin and proceeded to take off my boots and jacket. I began to tell him of my adventures on the ice road as we now refer to it. He listened while sipping his coffee and then asked, “Why didn’t you do like I’ve been doing and take the tractor?”. Having no good answer after the near death experience, all I could do was look at him and throw an envelope from the Office of Kansas Tourism at him…that was yesterday’s mail he had sent away for when we had planned the trip South for this week. He set it on the kitchen table and raised his coffee cup up in a toast…here’s to a Spring melt of the ice road and soon to be open water on the lakes for fishing. Until then…I’ll take the tractor down the road. Or better yet, I’ll send my Best Half.

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