"[I]f I had to live my life again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week…The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the moral character, by enfeebling the emotional part of our nature." --Charles Darwin

Friday, February 18, 2011

What do you do about old snow?

Ever since the motor in my treadmill decided to die just as winter was about to begin (donations cheerfully accepted), I've had to do my daily walk outdoors. And as we got through an unusual February thaw, I am acutely aware of that most unsightly of apres-party phenomena, dirty snow.

As I notice the variant melting patterns around the neighborhood and the different ways the residents deal with the reality of ice made mostly of dirt and stone, I contemplate what is the best way of disposing of the detritus of a now-departed Winter Wonderland.

How you feel about old snow and what is to be done with it might be an interesting indicator of personality and outlook. I would divide it into three categories. One might be the aggressive problem solver, seeing that the ice is melting and starting to break up, grabbing a chopper and a shovel and removing that last frigid shelf from the curb to allow cars and people to move freely and safely, without fear of wrenching a back or breaking a hip. Another personality might long for the days of beautiful pristine white snow, perhaps wishing for another storm to cover up the nasty, dirty stuff and return us to the lovely fairyland world. And then there is the pragmatic middle, exasperated with the ice, but knowing that it will melt in time, and that things tend to sort themselves out in the long run, and you just have to hope that nothing too bad happens until then, but that excessive exertion right now is pointless because the ice will melt.

Where are you along this spectrum, as a person and as a teacher? Do you leap in, even with the possibility that things will sort themselves out? Do you keep hands off? Do you try to crank things back to where it was before the problem started?

Meantime, don't slip, because that ice is not only slippery, but by now it's filthy.

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