There’s an odd moment that comes several times each winter to the “homestead.” Truthfully, it often comes in the late autumn and early spring as well. It’s a breaking point.
This breaking point is the moment in any of the thaws in our winter weather’s frequent freeze/thaw cycles when one stops choosing ones steps to avoid walking on ice, and begins choosing ones steps to purposefully walk on ice.
As I’ve mentioned before, the paths we commonly use around the compound compact and freeze in the thaws, making for desperately dangerous footing. At those times, unless we take time to put on grippers (see Getting Where We Need to Go) we have to walk with extreme care to avoid slipping and/or falling.
Obviously, the sooner ice disappears from these paths, the better. As each thaw develops and advances, there comes that point where we recover from the slick paths, avoiding them by seeking out footsteps in thawed, bare patches, and begin to purposefully break up, wear down, and otherwise degrade the remaining ice.
There’s a moment of pure pleasure when, walking on an ice-sheeted path, we hear that hollow crack that means that thawed run off has hollowed the sheet from underneath, weakening it to the breaking point. At that moment the tide turns, the oppressed becomes the oppressor. I gleefully stomp my way along the path, pulverizing any remaining ice into smaller, more easily melted chunks. Once the path melts free of ice, I begin to meander along it, going out of my way to crush the ice on either side of the path.
It’s little more than a childish act of revenge, but it improves the footing in the compound, and it does wonders for one’s outlook!
Currently, we’re in the midst of a serious thaw. Our January weather feels more like April. Heck, it’s better than some Mays we’ve seen here. I’ve been hacking away at the ice in the yard like a school boy stomping ice in puddles. I know full well that this pleasure is restricted to the dooryard. A few yards up the hill, it still looks and acts like winter. Snow lies deep around the trail, which the ice still holds fast. It’s a futile gesture at best.
But, it feels really good!