On Not Stopping

Friday’s snow had that magical, slow, fat feel to it. Winter wonderland, powdered sugar stuff, and it was still warm enough to enjoy walking home from campus in just a fleece. There were a few golden leaves still clinging to the birches, and the Christmas-red bunchberries were still poking up through the snow on the ground. White and red and gold and sublime. I love that three mile walk through the woods.

And the snow kept coming. Alan came over on Saturday to help me wrap up some fall chores and had to stop to help someone out of a ditch just up the road from my place. Inexplicable ditch people are common this time of year. Been there myself once or twice. Here’s the story of this one as best I can tell it:

Alan and the driver pushed and dug and boosted, trying to get the car out of the ditch. While they worked, another truck came up alongside. This truck was creeping really slowly, checking them out and looking like it was about to stop, so Alan took a breather and waited, thinking more help was on the way. As the truck passed, moving at a snail’s pace, the driver rolled the window down. “I’m not stopping,” he said to Alan.
Why are you telling me this? Alan thought, sweating and puffing a little from exertion, if you don’t want to help you can just go on by. Then his eyes snagged on the wheels, all locked up: the driver meant to stop, but he couldn’t. The truck was just slow-gliding through the slush at a crawl.

I’m not stopping.
I like it. As a metaphor, it works. Brakes or no brakes, the truck just slides by. The inexorable in scene.
“I’m not stopping,” delivered matter-of-fact.
I thought the first snow would melt off and leave us another few days of fall, but it didn’t. Winter’s not stopping; no sense getting worked up about it. I won’t get cranberries this year; so what? I’m not stopping, I’ll just get them when another September comes sliding by.

In the meantime, this place is a confection of red berries, golden leaves and sugar-white snow and I am reminded to savor the sweetness while it lasts.

6 thoughts on “On Not Stopping

  1. Excellent observation on the metaphor for this winter. Though we displaced Mainers revel in a brilliant, drawn out period of fall foliage, it’s not the case up here.
    Leaves dropped from the trees or not, when the winter apocolypse arrives, it’s “not stopping”.

    We are now swimming in snow the beginning of October. There is an excess of this stuff, in just a single storm. Where did my new Ochsenskopf axe go? Where is my portable air compressor? Where are my chainsaw tools? I can’t be the only Alaskan, stumbling around a sea of white, looking like Tom Hanks who lost his friend Wilson.

    • Haha accurate – all of us are out here flailing a little. I’ve got loose bits of bricabrac all down my trail that I need to kick out of the snow and find storage for. Ugh.
      On the bright side, I replaced the seat on my Bravo yesterday and she fired up on the second pull like the good little work horse she is. I haven’t gotten to do any snowmachining since the last time I visited Arctic before the pandemic, so this is my winter! Geoff shipped the Bravo in with a bunch of his gear this spring and she’s been up on a pallet since then, so just getting to drive her down onto the thin little layer of ice in the driveway put a happy little jitter in my cowling. When the big snow comes, I’ll be ready!

  2. I miss the diversity of tree species as well. Was up in the county grilling and playing horseshoes with friends and family in late August. Couldn’t focus, I was gawking at all those pines, ash, golden birch, maple and beech.

    All we have for useful wood up here is spruce and birch and spruce……..and birch.

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