“The Shining” New Year

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

Happy New Year from the Overlook Hotel! Things aren’t quite that bad, but there have been moments since  getting home December 30th that have reminded me of Stephen King’s The Shining. Jack Nicholson’s portrayal of frustrated writer Jack Torrance is iconic, and after a few days of being snowed in anywhere, my thoughts drift to either The Shining or Dr. Zhivago.

Since this recent bout of severe winter weather began on New Year’s Eve and required gathering firewood, keeping watch on the well house heater, and closing off unused rooms while trying not to think of Russia, one can understand why my thoughts kept drifting to the plot-line of a writer who plans to hibernate with a typewriter (in my case a laptop) to create a masterpiece while a string of obstacles and a list of winter chores prevent creative flow.

From meteorologists to native inhabitants, we’ve been assured that this weather is not normal for the region. It’s been eight years since the snow has lasted this long at this altitude. It’s a beautiful momentary change from the usual greenery. Even the cold is fine except for those times it has dipped into the teens. The main issue, however, is the driveway. In all seasons, the dramatic, tree-lined path runs upward between rows of ferns and vines, and fills one with anticipation upon reaching the pinnacle and making that sharp left into the final stretch of pavement leading to the house.

View from the garage. The driveway looks innocent enough, but the dangerous slope is beyond that clump of trees.
View from the garage. The driveway looks innocent enough, but the dangerous slope is beyond that clump of trees.

Each time the first snowflakes drift to earth we’re filled with trepidation as we rush to re-check the forecast and confirm whether or not the ground temperature is freezing. As much as we love that dramatic incline in spring and summer, the driveway has the potential to double as a ski slope in winter, which would challenge the best Olympic athletes. A slick and winding, one-lane course descending through old firs, younger alders and sudden drop-offs is not a trip I wish to take. At best, I foresee disfigurement, and the chance for anything worse increases every inch closer to that sharp turn at the top.

Once again, we’ve used less-than-ideal circumstances as an opportunity to try new things. I’ve successfully gotten chains on the tires, and we’ve learned about the effectiveness of applying salt to long stretches of asphalt. We did have to contact a snow plowman to scrape off six inches of packed snow so that we could even think of getting the car out, and when he pulled up and told how it took him three tries to get up our hill, I felt a momentary “shine” as if seeing Scatman Crothers as Mr. Hallorann battling the elements before showing up to rescue Danny and his mother from a crazed writer who has been snowed in too long.

I keep telling myself that while there is always the potential for these rougher weather conditions, they are not typical at this elevation west of the Cascade mountain range. When the temperatures rise above 32, clumps of packed snow quickly fall from the trees, reminding me that this white wonderland will soon be gone and I’ll have no excuse to stay inside and neglect my outdoor projects.

© 2017 by Patrick Brown

To learn more about my books, visit my author page at http://www.amazon.com/Patrick-Brown/e/B005F0CYH2/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1419885131&sr=8-1

5 Replies to ““The Shining” New Year”

  1. You’re not alone, Dear Friend! Apparently this wintry blast has hit 2/3rds of the Nation. Here in Nawth By Gawd Car’lina, we’ve experienced the same phenomenon — a two-day snow storm that closed everything from highways to supermarkets for half a day and had the Duke Energy Company breaking historic records with emergency calls. I’ve even been unable to get past my patio for the 10″ snow, and 2′ drifts — and, what’s that term again? Oh, yeah — CABIN FEVER HAS SET IN!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Would you believe it’s going to be 76 in our neck of the woods? Yep, warm today and then rain and ice are coming this weekend. Crazy weather for sure. Your scenery is breathtaking….love the photo of your pine trees near the drive-way ski slope. Be careful and just know that it’s temporary. The inconvenience is what bothers most people. So do the best you can and write to your heart’s content.

    Liked by 1 person

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