One after another

Halfway through March the snow banks are supposed to be receding. They’re not. The ice and hard-packed snow are supposed to melt off the town roads. It  isn’t happening. The snow and ice burden on Birch Lake is supposed to lessen. It’s not

Instead we’re getting more snow now than in January, and more frequently. On the TV weather maps the storm systems appear, moving west to east, lined up like dump trucks bound for a jobsite. It’s hard for someone who doesn’t live up north to understand this frustration. We’re yearning for spring and trying to guess how soon the ice will go out. All the while more snow piles on top of it.

It started around February 20 with twelve inches over two days. Three days later, eight more, the heavy stuff the snow blower can barely move. Three days seems to be the interval, and in between days just warm enough to do some mediocre melting. Six inches. Three. Two inches of wet and sticky. Five inches. Six (after just one inch was predicted). Then in a slow, steady fall over the past 48 hours ending midday Monday, another foot all told. And another eastbound truckload due in by Thursday.

The horseshoe of banks around our driveway are belt-buckle high; in places shoulder- and neck-high. When I shovel the walk from house to office I can barely heave the snow over the rounded top. In some spots I have to set the snow blower chute at maximum vertical to shoot it high enough. There’s three feet on the garage roof.

The snowmobilers who cross the lake must be reveling in this extended season of soft powder and beautifully groomed trails. For the rest of us the lake lies essentially useless. Even snowshoes would have suspect utility on the roughly four feet deposited in the past three-plus weeks. And anyway, what’s to enjoy on the frozen lake when we’re desperate for open water?

Sooner or later this weather pattern will break. We just wish we had a clear idea when.