School is closed. Most of the city, county, and state too. The snow is ridiculous. I've shoveled twice so far. Eight inches have fallen in about six hours. Syracuse, New York in February.
My neighbor and I took a break from shoveling to talk across the street. "I had the choice to have lunch or shovel. Some choice," he said, leaning on his shovel. He's even more fastidious about hid driveway than I am but nowhere near happy about it. Snow is a bother. The cold too. The driving through all of it. Ugh.
Our snowblower died and both to save money and be green I decided not to replace it. I've been shoveling and, aside from a bit of soreness, it has been fine. During these storms, I go out often. I'll be out there again within the hour.
About now, someone says I'm crazy to live here. I understand, but it's not the snow that's toughest. It's the grey skies which I've seen drive people out of their happiness. Still, even under grey skies and feet of snow, I'm happy where I am.
I love snow days and generally like snow even though I don't ski and no longer snow blow (my favorite winter activity). I've begun to enjoy shoveling. The snow is beautiful and I like crazy weather that doesn't involve hurricane winds ripping off the roof or earth suddenly shifting beneath the foundation. Syracuse has tough snow but no disasters. I can deal with tough but try to avoid disaster.
This is where I have lived. I went away for college and a job, but there was no question where we would raise our children. This is a place where strangers smile when I say hello. They respond, have a good one. And so I have.
I've chosen where I live, who I am, where I'm going. I chose this city, this life, these friends, this family, this act of writing. I chose all of it and it I've chosen well. When I look closely, I see that it is good. It feels good too. I feel good.
Friends can't wait until they move to Florida, Arizona, the Carolinas, out of Syracuse. Some sound happy about where they want to go. Others are just sound angry about where they are. I listen and nod. They ask, "where will you go?" I shrug, smile, and say that I'm good here. They ask, really? And I nod. There's not much to say and I've no reason to convince them to stay. It is enough that this is and has been the place for me.
All of this has less to do with Syracuse, New York than it does with Brian G. Fay. The best thing about getting old is the settling down. As a kid I thought that would be depressing part, but being settled opens doors within me. Knowing where I am, I know better who I am and who I might become.
It's about time I went out and scraped the driveway again. The snow is still coming hard, another two inches in the driveway. I'll do my neighbors' sidewalks to either side. We help each other out. If someone else is out there shoveling or just walking by, I'll say hello and listen to what they have to say about the storm. I'll smile because I'm standing in my driveway, outside my home, smack dab in the middle of where I want to be. I'll smile because I know where I am right now and it is good. Let it snow. I'll keep shoveling.