Skip to main content

Today we will consider the snow pile at the end of my driveway. These days you may have one too. In all likelihood, you know how the snow pile got there, at the end of the driveway, but just in case you’re from, say, Florida, or India, or someplace real warm and you’ve never considered the snow pile at the end of a driveway, I offer this brief tutorial.

You see, when the first snow arrives: some lightweight, small flurries, a dusting,
a puff,
there’s likely a giddy, young boy there scraping snow to the side,
leaving a small lump, just a mound.
Because, after all, a shovel, first snow,
are pure, white delight to the boy who’s been waiting to play in this stuff.

This might happen for days…
even, days upon days.
And, in time, the little mound stays
where it was thrown upon the cold, frozen ground.
It becomes a collection of cold and of sparkle, and of flakes that some
seem to like to call powder.

After some time, made mostly of waiting, the storms get on to all their raging.
Now the dutiful dad yanks the snowblower cord
so the driveway gets cleared, the kids go to school.
The yard becomes white, glaringly stark without grass. The snow mound grows bigger.
It’s more like a heap.

As the snow keeps on coming, in inches and feet,
the heap turns to wall,
so compact and so neat.
It absorbs from the plows going rampantly by, and it takes from dad’s blower,
from shovels,
from storming, from sleet.

Soon, the pile, it grows very high.
There’s a hardened, stiff crust,
though by morning it looks downy, soft, and all fluff.
Should the sky turn to blue, or the sun deign to shine, the pile becomes melty,
full of shimmers and sparkle.
But at nighttime, the pile is jagged from wind, and it lists to the side,
and it makes me feel grim.

Until, then, out for our walk,
there’s my boy and the dog.
Just when the pile seems frightfully tall, they climb it and crush it.
They leap from the height.
The snow pile, a gift, and their constant delight.

Still, the season of snow piles always extends,
long.
Life is gray.
Life is drab.
Snow piles make us feel had.

Fresh snow stops arriving to brighten and gleam.
The pile, it lags. It grows drippy,
porous,
and depressingly sad.
It’s a slump by the road, a greeting gone bad.

Finally, there’s only a grimace of grit.
A crispy, mud smear spliced with hardened, spit gravel.
Under brazen, cold sun, almost too bright for the year,
the wizened, dead pile seeks the spring rain, it’s clear.

Cold, it will come.
harsh will it fall.
Washing,
and cleansing,
the pile of sludge.
The grass will begin showing, the green will get flung.

Hope, then, remasters our hearts and our minds.

The snow, yes, it comes.
It piles and woos,
and it worries and works us, and causes us blues.
It’s a cycle of life, and of growth.
It is hope.

And each year, we live,
through the piles again.

Photos by: Todd Trapanion and David Hofmann on Unsplash

Katy Sundararajan

Katy Sundararajan lives in Holland, Michigan with her husband and two children, but she has left her heart in a whole host of places called home. She values thoughtful writing that allows us to ponder something small and recognize in it, something big

2 Comments

  • mstair says:

    thank you for a wry remembrance
    …left the midwest in ’85’, but still remember this rule…

    But if you err and pile it on the left-side as you strive,
    The county plow will move it
    And fill back in your drive…

  • Gloria McCanna says:

    Katy,
    The first time I read this, I got lost in the words – and not in a good way.
    But today I returned to it, as we should with all poetry and read it out loud.
    It’s beautiful and I got lost in a good way!

    “It’s a slump by the road, a greeting gone bad.”
    So good!
    And then you pull it all together in the last few verses!
    Thank you for the second reading!

Leave a Reply