Spider Web of Paths

by Ric McDermott
(Pepin, WI)

Our first major snow storm of the season with over two feet of snow. The snow drifts were pretty awesome - to see how much of the farm we didn't see, including the long driveway and the non-existent mailbox at the end.

The old John Deere with a blade was no match. The tractor moved just enough to get really stuck, wheels spinning. I just shut it down where it was.

Being that it was Sunday morning, church canceled, and no way to get to the barn. I gave in and returned to the house for more coffee. Reminiscing on my old life in the city. I would have relished the fact I was snowbound, with the city shut down around me with nothing more to do but cozy up with a good book.

Farm life is not forgiving, and I knew I had to shovel out at least to the animals. High boots on, I managed to get to the snow blower. Yes I even had spare gas. Water, feed and hay. I start my appointed rounds creating a drunken maze of paths. I didn't think of it at first, but the pastures needed clearing too. My animals are no good at making their own way, but would stay put in the shelter till spring.




The spider web was done, no short cuts; all square corners. It must look like one of the modern marvels from outer space.

The driveway took another day, and I don't think I ever did find the original route, but took the path of least resistance around snow drifts if I could. Arrival at the supposed location of the mailbox, I felt a sense of short-lived triumph, until I went back and forth on the road to the house for the rest of the day. Worn out at the end of the day even with the aid of the snow blower, I marvel at how our ancestors survived winter after winter.

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