Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth

In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.

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The Song of the Snow Shovel

Skritch! Skritch! Skriiiiitch!

It's been a dry winter here in Paganistan, so it's almost with a sense of relief that I shoulder the snow shovel and go out to clear the walk.

Minnesota being the Land of Common Sense, there's a logic to shoveling snow. You want to get to it early, before the feet of passers-by tramp it down. The sooner you get to it, the easier the job will be.

On our block, Fatima two houses down is always first. No matter how early I go out to shovel, her walk will already be clear.

Then comes Nick across the street, who shovels snow as a hummingbird hovers: you know that it's happening, but it's too quick to see.

Me, I settle for third.

Minnesota being also the Land of Polite, there are thews (customs, laws) governing how you shovel.

(That you do shovel, of course, is an unstated premise. Not to shovel one's sidewalk is tantamount to a declaration of indifference, unneighborliness, if not of downright sociopathy.)

You always, for instance, shovel your own walk and a little bit of your neighbor's. To shovel only your own walk is regarded as stingy, niggardly. But of course, you've got to be careful. Shovel too much of your neighbor's walk and you're making, as it were, a territorial claim. All things in moderation.

Because of how we see the world, witches, of course, have added incentives for shoveling our walks. Some would call it paranoia, but to us it just seems like common sense.

Why?

Well, first off, you don't want to give the cowans anything to complain about. That fire already burns hot enough; why add fuel to it?

Secondly, you do it for the same reason that you burn (or flush) your hair and nail-parings.

You don't want to let them to get at your footprints.

 

Hear now the song of the snow shovel:

I am your friend, it says.

When winter closes, I open the way.

Go free now! says the snow shovel.

 

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Poet, scholar and storyteller Steven Posch was raised in the hardwood forests of western Pennsylvania by white-tailed deer. (That's the story, anyway.) He emigrated to Paganistan in 1979 and by sheer dint of personality has become one of Lake Country's foremost men-in-black. He is current keeper of the Minnesota Ooser.
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Comments

  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert Wednesday, 23 January 2019

    Love it, wonderful piece. Thanks for the smiles.

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