On an unseasonably warm day in February, after a series of snowstorms that left a car covered and a driveway unnavigable, I decide to tackle the seemingly insurmountable mounds of snow. In some spots they are three feet high. I move the mountain one stratum at a time, until I reach the thick layer of ice below.
I trade my snow shovel for the heavy steel ice chopper. It’s a solid heavy tool, but the ice is very thick, so I have to start near the edge and work my way in, one or two inches at a time. Clearing the entire driveway will take a considerable amount of time; a thousand tiny little chops, much effort, and much patience.
After a few minutes I find a groove and begin to chop in a choreographed pattern of ice and motion; horizontal horizontal, vertical vertical, left hand, right hand, both hands, both hands. A million metaphors move through my mind as the movement of my body and breath become meditative and soothing. I focus only on the section I am chopping, not the entire driveway.
I will get to the bottom of it all eventually, if I keep moving. If I stay connected to my arms, my core, my breath. If I don’t get tired of the work, or the repetition of it all. If I keep powering through. If I don’t get frustrated with the tedious task, or with myself. If I don’t get bored, or decide to just give up.
I wish that I could carry the metaphors away with me, out of the driveway. But I have to keep chipping away.