Friday, January 28, 2011

Elemental, my dear Watson!

Never Done: Urban driveway shoveling
Never Done: Saw 127 hours
Tshuve: Snow, snow, snow

I have forgotten lately to write about tshuve (return), and have been focusing solely on Never Done. But I've been doing lots of old familiar things, like go to sleep, and eat, and wake up, and go to sleep, and eat and wake up again. And work. And go to the gym. Although for a while there I didn't but now I am again, and it feels great, as usual. But since I haven't written about tshuve for a little while, here's a reminder -- that it seems to me that a life focused solely on things I've never done would get frantic and untethered. So I think it's important to balance it out with the return to the familiar and reliable things in our life. Like my friend Eric, who keeps visiting New York, and with whom I have been able to spend more time in this past year than I have in our whole 20 years of being friends. That kind of tethering. Or like a winter with five collective feet of snow, as demonstrated by this Shaq-o-meter. A winter that when I go outside, I see that familiar milky blue sky, and the trees covered in clumps of white. A winter like the winters I grew up with, when we borrowed forts into snow banks and sledded down the back yard hill.

And shoveled. I spent a lot of time shoveling when I was a kid (and an adult) in New England. Since moving to NYC though, I don't get much opportunity to shovel. My landlord actually snowblows the path from our door to the street, as well as the sidewalk in front of our house. But I have a car, and it's parked in Karen and Todd's driveway, and they have shoveled it out from every big storm this year, so I decided to get over there early and do the deed. The deed turned out to be fairly monumental. The new snow was light and fluffy. The old snow underneath was actually ice. And the snow that the plow had plowed three feet into the driveway was heavy slush. Air is lighter than water. Ice is heavier than air. I know, it's all obvious. But when you are shoveling it up and tossing it onto a 5 foot high pile of snow, it all feels so elemental. My muscles can pick up 10 inches of new snow at a time, and 6 inches of slush. I just don't get that kind of elemental physical work on a daily basis in the city, and I really welcomed it.

Twelve hours later, I went to see the movie 127 Hours, about Aron Ralston, who was hiking alone in Utah, when he fell and trapped his hand under a boulder for five days, and eventually amputated his own arm with a dull tool, and survived. Talk about elemental -- the film, which is visually stunning, is all about water, rock, and blood. A far cry from the inspirational story of one woman's struggle to shovel a Brooklyn driveway, but a visceral bookend to my morning nonetheless.




1 comment:

  1. Whoa, Nelly! I'm impressed. I've never done such a deed, and at my age never will. My hat is off to you, Jenny. More than that, I bow to your muscles and endurance.