heavy-handed metaphors · january blues

Snowed under

There is only one thing on everybody’s mind here in Edmonton, and that’s the snow. It has snowed, and snowed and snowed and snowed and snowed and snowed, virtually nonstop since New Year’s. Half a metre in the last ten days, more snow in 24 hours that we got in all of [name your month]: all it does is snow. As snow goes, it’s beautiful – light and fluffy, not your east coast cement – but it is undeniably plentiful. Not only is it hard to keep on top of the (ever-diminishing) pathways to the door, but we’re increasingly running out of places to put the stuff we shovel. To clear a little here is to pile a little more over there, until boom: avalanche.

Am I the only one who feels like this is a heavy-handed metaphor? We’re snowed under outdoors and, chez Dr Zwicker at least, snowed under indoors. There is a tunnel on my desk to match the tunnels to my house. I remember the days of smooth clear surfaces with a kind of disbelief, the same sensation I have when I look at my ranks of capri pants and short-sleeved blouses (why…?). The new normal is that every day you shovel and shovel, and as the newly-shoveled backslides onto the newly-cleared, you realize that the only real solution for this state of affairs is to have started shoveling way, way back – in August, say, or June – when you knew a storm like this was inevitable and you could at least have read the book you have to review, or started that dissertation chapter, or, or, or…

The consolation is that everybody’s in the same straits, and if facebook can be believed (and, really, when can’t it?), there is a kind of pleasure in sharing this particular misery. Don’t think snowed under. Think snowed in.

2 thoughts on “Snowed under

  1. 1998 was like this in Edmonton: I was in my coursework year, and it snowed SO MUCH that everyone on my street was having their ROOFS professionally cleared. I was in the basement apartment of a house, which is grim enough in terms of daylight and/or claustrophobia …


    When the professional snow removers came and took all the snow off the roof, do you know where they put it?

    They piled it up against the side of the house, completely and totally covering over every single window in my apartment. Every last one. It was exactly like being in a snow cave.

    I completely freaked out and called my landlady, and she called the snow guys and they hauled the snow away in the truck the next day.

    I will NEVER forget that.


  2. It seems that January seems to be that catch 22 month of being snowed in, and wanting to break free. I'm talking more about January being considered the most *sigh* depressing month. Being after Christmas…all the bills coming in, unfinished projects piled up from last year, playing catch up because that time you meant to spend during your winter break on whatever it is you were working on, instead was spent on rum and eggnog and snowboarding down a mountain, or even better…sleeping in.

    But, January is also that month of new hope…or whatever you want to call it. New resolutions, promising to yourself that you will get your projects done from December (and all previous months that you promised to get done the month after but are still sitting there staring at you with “I told you so”), then venture out into new lands of research and development, and inspiration. Loosing 10 pounds, or quitting smoking. Or a number of other things that we all at some point resolved to do.

    January is that month for desperation.

    It's the month we notice what kind of crazy pile of unfinished, and meant-to-do's we've been staring at since no one wants to know when. Then make that “oh….Shh*****” expression.

    Calgary is not as snowy this year. I will send the Chinook winds north. You know, because I have that power.


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