4/3/18

April Snow



I’m not one to wallow in the singleness. Really- it’s not something I obsess about or spend huge chunks of time turning over in my mind. It is what it is, as they say. I enjoy my kids, my friends, my dog and for the most part, my life. 

But sometimes, that singleness, it comes out of left field and blindsides you with a hard, open-hand smack to the head. 

Like when it snows in April. 

We got hit with a pretty impressive spring snowstorm here in Minneapolis. It started yesterday, and then kicked it up a notch overnight and all day today. 

We are a hardy bunch, us Minnesotans. Grin and bear it, ya you betcha, dontcha know. 

As we are wont to say in a late-season snowstorm, “what can ya do?”. You drive slow(er). You do the penguin shuffle on the icy pavement. And you shovel.

Being Minnesotan trained me well for life post-divorce. After all, isn’t it a lot like a weird April blizzard? Not entirely expected and it leaves a mess but you know the end is in sight. You know the slippery, blowing white crap will soon succumb to the slowly warming sunshine. 

Tonight, though, it snuck up on me. No, not the snow. I worked in the office all day and watched it come down and commisserated with everyone grumbling about it. Heard the swish of snowpants and the unmistakable clomp of winter boots in a school hallway. The snow wasn't sneaky.

Tonight, the aloneness hit. 

My janky car is a good and faithful runner despite the battered exterior. Like me, it’s tougher than it looks and doesn’t require much attention or maintenance. But it’s no match for several inches of snow combined with our long narrow driveway.

After work, I drove home, carefully and hopefully. Careful of the rutted, slippery streets and hopeful that the guy my landlord gets to plow for us had beat me home. 

He hadn’t. Tucked in next to a busy street, the only option we have on these inclement weather days is to say a little prayer and drive as fast and as far up the drive as we (and our cars) are able. 

I almost made it! Used the clicker to open the garage door and aimed the old Ford Focus and let it rip. We got so close. The nose of the car almost passed the threshold of the garage when gravity and nature laughed and said “not today, sucka!” and my decrepit silver bullet slid, helplessly, down the driveway and into a drift. 

I didn’t have it in me to start the arduous excavation process. I left the car there, knowing the plow guy would soon appear and because of the marooned vehicle, be unable to get much plowing done. 

It’s April, for Pete’s sake. I’m done.

The plow guy came, not much later, and did what he could. I sighed and zipped up my parka and put on the woolen hat and the mittens and the boots and grabbed a shovel and headed out. What can ya do, right? 

I scooped and threw and scraped and shoved and moved snow for about an hour. It was light snow, so I didn’t spend too much time imagining who would find me out there, partially obscured by the piles of accumulation after succumbing to a heart attack. 

My arms ached and my cheeks were warm. I got a lot of it taken care of. It was time to try and get the car out.

The sun was almost completely set and the wind had picked up a bit. The last desperate throes of our springtime storm swirled in the air, through the boughs of trees already heavy with the weight of a billion snowflakes. I entered the challenged chariot, turned the key and slowly made my way out of the stuck. 

That was when it hit me. Sitting in my car, sweaty inside the heavy coat, melting ice crystals clinging to my eyelashes. The singleness, the aloneness, all of it. Just for a moment-

I felt it. All of it. The depth and the breadth of it. I felt it as I backed out of the now-clear driveway, slowly at first and then speeding up, I felt it. 

I was tired and could feel my arm muscles curling up into sore T-Rex configurations and I was so very alone. 

For a minute I thought of the old timey snowstorms, back when I was a young mom and the kids were little and we’d play inside the warm coziness while the man of our house, the man in our lives, shoveled and moved cars and got red-cheeked and sore. 

We’d make hot chocolate for him. We’d watch and wave from the big picture window as the driveway was cleared and the man of our house, the man in our lives, cleared the way as he cleared the snow.

For a minute I sat there, the last of the day fading behind me and the darkness and stillness dimming the settling snow globe outside. I felt the aloneness. 

But I was okay. I maneuvered the car just right and made my way to the other side of the drive, clearing the way for the plow guy should he happen to come by a second time.

I walked towards the house, laughing at the ecstatic stupid/sweet dog watching from the big picture window and I felt the aloneness slowly melting away. Like April snow, it won't last long.

5 comments:

  1. "...made my way out of the stuck."
    Such an apt description. Boy, have I been there. And felt the gratitude and relief when my car actually starts moving again, and in the right direction!
    Sometimes the aloneness hits hard, dealing with the Minnesota snow.

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  2. Oh that hits home. We haven't gotten snow here lately but I feel your aloneness and hate when I feel that way. We know we will be okay but it still feels awful at moments like that. I do so love how lovely your writing is and how it always hits home. The snow will melt and the sun will shine and warmer days will come.

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  3. Jenny! I’ve been waiting for you to post so thank you! I’ve recently become obsessed with the soundtrack for Dear Evan Hansen but sadly I haven’t seen it yet. When I first heard “So Big/So Small” I immediately thought of you and your blog. You can find the video/soundtrack online and I hope you will find the time to check it out. Warning: that song might make you cry but it is worth it. Then you can listen to the more cheery and insanely catchy “Anybody Have a Map?” about the joys of raising teenagers. I have no connection/investment in this musical personally but I just really think you will love these songs. Please let me know what you think if you check them out!

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  4. Oh I'm so glad you've left the blog up, Jenny! And I wish I'd been there to give you a big hug, some help shoveling your car out, and a martini last night. That, and a magic wand to make that aloneness go away for good.

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