By Merisa Sherman
It was dark when I got out of work. The recently fallen snow was glittering in the golden lamplight. We had gotten so much snow that the birch trees above my car were bending under the weight. I shuffled my boots under the snow, the fluffy white snow poofing upward with every stride. The next day’s World Cup was slightly forgotten, as my mind wandered to the possibilities of the powder day instead.
I looked at my car and smirked with joy. I was going to need the brush. The harboring of greatness, the bringer of happiness and the bearer of good tidings. Just the sight of all that snow piled high atop my Yakima box signaled that tomorrow was going to be a most wonderful powder day. How could it not?
We’ve had fresh snow this year, but nothing like this. The snow is thicker than the branch that’s holding it. We’re hidden from the wind here in the inn parking lot, and the scene is simply stunning as I look down the hill to the Killington Road. All I can see is street lights and snow. It’s going to be a long night for the plow guys.
The brush is buried deep inside my car. With my gloved hand, I swipe at the snow around the driver’s side door. At first, all it takes is a simple swipe with my glove and the snow blows right off the door. Jokingly, I decide to use my lungs instead and the snow comes off immediately. The snow is so light that I am a human snowblower. I giggle at the thought and grab the door handle.
There’s a creaky noise from the cold as the door swings open, slowly awakened from it’s frozen slumber. But the car starts right up, thank goodness, and I reach my arm around to the back seat for my beloved snow brush. It’s been with me for years now, and the brush is so smushed now it’s probably time for a new one. A white handle with a blue brush, it is one of the uglier ones I’ve ever seen, but we’ve been through a lot of adventures together.
Shutting the door, I take another swipe at the window with the brush this time. And then I hear the noise that makes my heart stop. A rough noise of the brush encountering a non-smooth surface underneath all the snow. The pure joy leaves my body in a whoosh. My shoulders slumped and for a moment I just stared at the window. Taking a couple deep breaths to steady myself, I let out a big sigh of resignation as I reopened the car door and made sure the defroster was on.
I should have known better. This is Vermont and nothing is ever as easy or simple as it seems. In this case, there was at least a quarter inch of ice underneath all that beautiful snow. In the excitement of watching the big dump throughout dinner service, I had conveniently forgotten how it started. That transition period when it wasn’t quite snow yet was stuck all around my car. That’s why the door didn’t open smoothly. It was frozen shut.
And so now I re-look at my beloved brush and flip it around to the trapezoid on the other end: the scraper, which is probably more worn-in that the brush end. Ah, a love-hate relationship with the scraper as I begin my duty. I am resigned to my fate and after I brush each window, I slowly begin the task of de-icing the vehicle. First, breaking up the ice on the windows with the variable side of the scraper before flipping it over to do the actual scraping.
As I work my way around the car, I think about the inevitable lift delays that are coming in the morning, as each chair and cable has to be cleared even though I hope it turned faster up high. Maybe at higher elevation it was all snow? I look back at the road below and realize that it’s a mess down there. There’s no way to keep up with the snow when it falls that fast and with the ice underneath … well, it was going to be a long, sketchy ride home down Route 100.
With a deep breath, I lift the wipers and reach my long arms as far as they can go, standing on tiptoes to reach the middle of the car. My belly brushes the cold snow on the hood, but I keep going. It takes a unique sort of person to enjoy life in Vermont. You have to find peace in frustration and enjoy the chores of living here. Even if it’s the heartbreaking chore of scraping ice off your car on a powder day.