Tuesday, December 16, 2008

About snow blowers

Astrological winter may not start for a week or so, but meteorological winter started December 1. 

Given the little snow storm that I drove home in tonight, winter has settled in beautifully, and intends to linger long.

And if I dislike -- nay, why sugarcoat it, loathe -- any kind of cold weather, the first site of flakes stirs a different kind of feeling in the men of my neighborhood.

Those flakes stir a love, an excitement, an anticipation among the menfolk here on Hearthstone Drive. Also, a competition that rivals the lawnmower wars of summer. 

It's a time to break out the snowblowers.

Honestly, I think the guys on our street, at the first hint of flake, glue themselves to window and weather radar, just waiting for that 1/16th of an inch coating they need to justify gassing up the snowblower and having at it on the driveway.

What is it about these things the guys love so much? Is it the satisfying roar of the engine at the turn of a key (or pull of a recoil starter)? And I mean roar. Is it the lurching thrust of the engine as the throttle is engaged and the monster takes off? Is it the graceful arch of said snow as the auger-thing sucks it up into the funnel then blows it into oblivian? Is it the site of of the newly cleared sidewalk, now safe for humanity to traverse?

I don't think so.

Rather: Is it the my-blower-is-bigger-than-yours competition, as evidenced by the covert looks given each other as snowblowers compete, driveway by driveway, seeing who can be done first?

Because the first one done then takes the responsibility of any sidewalk not already blown, any neighbor's driveway not already cleared, and any left-over patch of cement unfortunate enough not to belong to anyone.

It's like a fast-motion marathon of snow clearing, that begins at the first flake and doesn't end until the last wisp of wind has whipped the drifts to snowy peaks.

Because when you start with the first flake, one pass is not enough. Oh no. There's nothing better to a snowblower owner than a two--or even a three!--pass snowstorm.

The guys have all been out tonight--you can hear the noise on every side of the house. Radar looks like it's going to keep up most of the night. I'm guessing not one guy in the neighborhood is going to sleep well tonight--they're going to want to be up extra early tomorrow.

There's nothing like the roar of a nine-horsepower snowblower in the morning.

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