Saturday, January 04, 2014
Working With Nature to Shovel Snow
An article in the Princeton Packet on staying healthy in winter months warned that hard work in cold weather "exacerbates any underlying issue" with the heart, by constricting the blood vessels. Not having any underlying issues that I know of, I still found this a great additional excuse to take a number of breaks inside to warm fingers and fully digest the progress made.
Even when most of nature is dormant, there are plenty of ways to interact, collaborate, and finesse, rather than curse the whiteness. Sun is the great natural ally for snow shovelers. Get as much snow as possible off the car and pavement early in the day, and then let the sun do the rest of the work. As many sunbathing cars in the neighborhood demonstrated, once the sun's rays can reach inside the car, the greenhouse effect takes over to warm the interior and melt the remaining snow. If abundant, deceptively cheap energy hadn't dumbed down house design, our homes would be oriented and constructed to be excellent winter sunbathers as well, naturally providing much of the heat needed to keep the chill at bay.
I was smart enough to park the car close to the street, thereby limiting how much driveway had to be shoveled, but next time will remember to raise the windshield wipers before the storm hits.
Nature offers lots of other collaborative opportunities, inside the house. There's water's brilliant capacity to soften dirt on dishes left to soak in the sink, and the air's highly convenient and energy efficient way of stealing water from wet clothes hung on racks. The afternoon sun, streaming in what windows our house offers up, is sufficient to give the furnace a rest. And then there's the body's capacity to generate its own heat, which can collaborate well with the lightweight, insulating, fashionable clothing available today.
These are some of the ways to stay in touch with nature's generosity in and out of doors, through winter's dormancy.