Thursday, April 25, 2013

Past Deadline: Slow-Moving Glaciers

Here is Past Deadline published in The Perth Courier on April 11/13.
Slow-moving glaciers
 On Sunday, I did what has become a habit over the last few years – I attacked the glacier covering my patio.
As patient as I have been with winter, I did hit the wall sometime in March and was ready for it to be spring. Stands to reason – after all, spring was scheduled to arrive on March 20. I strive to be punctual and I think it behooves the seasons to arrive on time as well.
Sometimes, however, spring forgets about our little backyard and leaves it stuck in a winter retrospective. When I stopped by my parents’ house a couple of weeks ago, their south-facing front garden was already bursting with crocuses. Our shadier gardens still snoozed under a layer of snow.
Finally this weekend I began to see the first peeps of green where my crocuses live. The section where the birdfeeder was situated all winter is also bare – exposing a shocking layer of bunny fertilizer.
The part of the backyard I am most interested in is our little patio, and it tends to be the last to be free of ice. My dad and I laid it a few years ago and it feels like an extra room in my house. I really miss it in the winter.
It is located in a cosy corner bordered by a workshop on one side and a shed on the other, which makes it nice and shady on hot summer days. Unfortunately it is also nice and shady in the spring, which does not bode well for ice-meltage.
So, every year, I grab my ice chipper and release some pent-up aggression by beating the poo out of a five-inch build-up of ice covering my beloved patio. One year I even employed boiling water to assist my mission – such is the urgency of my need.
Late Sunday afternoon I set out to complete this ritual. It had rained earlier in the day, so some sections of the blasted glacier had softened. I smashed away at it for a while, but I wasn’t at it too long before I lost steam.
I opted for a compromise. I grabbed a folding chair and plunked it on the small section I had cleared, sat back and chilled – literally. I was surrounded by ice, but it was nice! Birds were singing, the breeze was blowing, the sky wasn’t terribly overcast. If I closed my eyes I could almost imagine it was a coolish summer day.
In fact, closing my eyes was fairly imperative in order to adequately set the scene, otherwise my sightline was obscured by two garbage cans and a green bin currently residing nearby until their usual warm-weather locations were more accessible and free of snow and mud.
Part of the reason for giving up so easily was the fact I had checked the long-range forecast earlier and saw warmer temperatures and rain on the horizon, which should aid my cause. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to easily finish the glacier removal next weekend.
This, however, is a risky plan, because weather forecasts are unreliable. In fact, I felt like a hypocrite for even consulting the forecast.
See, around our house Groom-boy spends great amounts of time complaining about the weather forecasts. “They’re never right.” “They’re always changing.” “No one knows what they’re talking about.”
“Dude,” I say. “Do what I do. Look out the window and, if it’s raining, take an umbrella. If it’s sunny, take your sunglasses. Weather changes. Get over it.”
This from the woman who can’t wait for ice to recede.
Anyway, whether the weather cooperates or not this week, I plan to sit on my patio again very soon. My ice pick and kettle are ready.

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