I was shoveling a path in the snow, along the sidewalk toward the fire hydrant. The hydrant was almost to the corner, but of course it was obscured by a hill of snow the plows had piled up. Thankfully, the snow was light and fluffy. Even a weakling like me could toss the white stuff up and off to the side.
Looking behind me, I was reminded of a canyon. I was making a valley between two hills of snow. Turning around, I thought I heard something. After a moment, I heard it again.
It wasn’t a voice. Was it? It was a muffled sound. Which direction?
Now I heard nothing. I was alone and sometimes sound can disorient its origin. I continued shoveling.
The wind picked up, and puffs of white blew back in my face when I tossed the snow to the side. I could hear a snow blower start up, somewhere down the street. There it was again. Definitely, whatever it is.
I didn’t think it was a machine. It was a voice, or was it? Was it getting louder? I stood rooted. I stared ahead trying to make my eyeballs xray the snow. I was starting to get the feeling that something was amiss. Was that sound desperate, or was it my imagination? The devil has this place. I can feel it.
“Stop it.” I was starting to wonder that if there were such a thing as snow blindness, could there be an ill hearing affect caused by snow. Probably not, but right at that moment I was exhibiting proof that snow can make you crazy. I must be hearing things.
One good thing resulted from my inner discourse was that I did a fair amount of shoveling without realizing the effort I was expending. The hydrant was uncovered. I was finished. I rested against my shovel and surveyed my work. I also listened, but since I didn’t hear anything, I’m not going to mention it. The job was done. I can go inside and forget about that sound, that feeling, and stop thinking about noises, snow, hydrants and things that go creeping in the snow.
The minute I got inside I heard Johann Pachelbel’s Canon in D, which was the ringtone belonging to one of my friends. My cell phone was buried deep into one of my pockets, somewhere. I checked my jacket. All eight pockets, inside and out were empty. Even though the music stopped, I still had to find my cell phone, so I patted down all the pockets in my ski pants. There, in the bib pocket of my overall ski pants Pachelbel called me, again. “Hello.”
“Where have you been, I’ve been calling you for any hour?”