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My Grandpa lived in Victor, Idaho. It’s over a mountain pass from Jackson Hole, Wyoming. His grandfather homesteaded in “The Valley.” My roots yearn for it, and some of my best memories were forged in the winters there.

Winter in a mountain valley comes as early as September and doesn’t leave anytime soon. With the first snow fall, my grandpa would begin shoveling the walk from his front door, through a gate and to the street. By January, the walls of snow on either side of the path were above our heads as children.

It felt like walking through a secret tunnel to the front door where grandma would hug us; then we’d warm up watching the flames in the cast iron stove, which heated his house. I wondered if Grandpa knew that by shoveling all that snow all winter long he was creating magic.

Maybe that’s where my love of pathways in snow began.

Lately, every morning I look out at the driveway and hope. But so far, the only snow has been the left over dusting that hasn’t melted out of my back yard. Most people do not understand why I like to shovel snow, but when I find someone who shares this passion, we click. Half-sentences-that-the-other-finishes moment.

My DH is embarrassed by what the neighbors might think when I go out to shovel by myself, so he usually joins me with his efficient rhythm—much like the way he mows the lawn. It’s a task to be done but not what he enjoys. He really wanted a snow-blower this year.

I haven’t convinced him that he’s missing something:

 I love the stillness of early morning when the sky and snow are a soft gray and shadows are just beginning to form. It’s the perfect time to pray, just me, the beautiful white world, the soft scrape of the shovel, clouds that hover heavily like a comforter being lowered to earth, and God.

 I love the wonder of a winter evening lit by the glow of streetlamps and friendly Christmas lights. Neighbors home from work converge at their driveways with shovels, blowers, and plows. They wave and call to each other. People only nodded to in the summer connect in the common task.

 I love the brilliance of daytime when children on holiday pass by pulling sleds and giggling.

 I love watching them try to catch large flakes on their tongues.

 I like shoveling interesting paths along the side-walks for them to wander through.

 I like the feeling of satisfaction after a physically hard hour.

So tomorrow, after I’ve made my DH’s lunch and breakfast, I’ll check the driveway and hope once more that I need to clear it before he leaves for work. I’ll think of my grandpa’s walk and wish I had snow that piled ten feet or more by March (snow plows contributed). And when it does come, I’ll bundle up, put on my beloved moon-boots and then enter paradise with a grin.

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