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Monday, January 16, 2012

Breaking Ice

Living on twelve acres of land at the top of a one quarter mile drive presents many opportunities and challenges. Most people would assume that the drive would allow the opportunity to enjoy a spectacular view of the Holyoke Mountain Range and the Connecticut River Valley. They would suppose the challenge lies in the maintenance and management of such a driveway in winter weather. Well into the seventh winter at this address, I have arrived at a new perspective. WIth a drive that has attached to it names such as Dead Man’s Curve and Death Hill, it is inevitable that owners of this property will always be contending with ice, snow, mud and water run-off. I feel ready to handle these factors when I am in one of our four-wheel drive vehicles. I feel fairly confident when contending with the winter’s onslaught of snow. My undoing, however, is ice. I do not like the out of control feeling when my automobile slides 100 feet sideways, sometimes backward as I try to go uphill. I am white-knuckled when the same thing occurs going downhill. Every winter morning that our hardpacked road is covered in other than dirt, I eye it like I would eye a malevolent opponent. I try to gauge who is going to win each go-round. It helps to have a husband who is well-versed, nearly godly with his tractor. The tractor is a powerful machine capable of things I would never have imagined. However, my secret weapon comes in the form of a man named Harlan Bean. He brings his truck with plow and spreader and, if I ask, he will lay double layers of sand for me to give me the traction I need to get where I am going. Generally, after eyeing the drive, considering the weather and making the trip down, I travel the short distance from backroads to main roads only to find thoroughfares that are simply wet -- with no accumulation of snow or ice. My perspective up here on Chestnut Mountain View is decidedly skewed. This brings me back to my original point. Most winter days, I have the opportunity to face fear. I face my particular fear of losing control on ice down a mountain road, head my car downhill in LO, say a prayer and ease my way to lower elevations. Conversely, when I come home, I confront my fear, not allowing the knot in my stomach to dictate my action. I show no hesitation and I aim uphill. She who hesitates is lost. These daily skirmishes with my driveway are daily skirmishes with fear. Every time I win, a track is laid down in my brain telling me that I can face my fears; I must not let them stop me from doing exactly it is that I want to do.

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