January 4, 2010

How Snow Shoveling Saved My Life

There is a rhythm to a good snow shoveling session. Shovel hits snow, shovel hits pavement, snow comes up, snow leaves shovel, snow hits snow. Repeat, repeat, repeat. If you want to get technical, you can throw in the background music of a gentle wind or an occasional crunching snow as it passing by. When finished, you are left with nothing but a barren driveway and a sense of accomplishment.

Accomplishments are hard to come by this century, well, real accomplishments that is. We live in an age of instant but empty accomplishments. Congratulations you have 10,000 friends on facebook (yet you only talk to 10 of them regularly). What's that you say, you have 500 twitter followers (oh wait half of them are people who don't know you). And my personal favorite, you're gamerscore is stratosphere high and you have more achievement trophies than most normal folk (and video game skills are meaningless). These and their similar brethren are not real accomplishments.

Real accomplishments include things like getting to be particularly good at a valuable skill. Mastering a chromatic scale with 4 octaves on an instrument is an accomplishment. Building a bookshelf from scratch qualifies as does writing an actual book, damn, in this day an age, reading a book is an accomplishment. And yet, as I step into the new decade, I can't but recollect just how rewarding shoveling the driveway makes me feel. Not on par with building a bookcase, but, hey come on, it's real labor we're talking about here.

The driveway was covered and I uncovered it. I  unearthed it like Robert Langdon, making it safe for all the travelers who would drive and walk on it's mystical black asphalt. I took a force of nature and said to it "sorry ol chap, but I got you beat, at least for the next two hours till you start snowing again." And most of all the rhythm of the snow made me forget the symphony of technology that we blissfully (and sometimes necessarily) embrace. For just that one moment I was disconnected from my facebook, my twitter, my phone, my email, my gamerscore, my job and pretty much the world. So: Thanks snow, Thanks Snow Shovel (sorry I don't know if my aching back feels the same).

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