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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Snow Dance

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Och. I've been shoveling so much snow that my butt hurts.

Usually by now I'd have my shoveling muscles well in place, but we've had so little snow this winter that I've gone slack.

Well, the Great Groundhog's Day Blizzard of 2016 put paid to all that. It's time to take up the shovel and show what we're made of.

Here in Snow Country, shoveling is something of an art form. Good shoveling is a dance, a balanced pitting of muscle strength against weight resistance. You want maximum clearance for minimum energy output. You want rhythm, regularity. You want to do as much pushing and as little lifting as possible.

Push and two and push and two and lift and throw and

push and two and push and two and lift and throw and


Once you've got your breathing and your rhythm in place, you can reach a point of no-mind—snow-mind, one might call it—in which you can move truly vast amounts of snow almost without being aware of it.


Oh, and legs. You want to lift with your legs. Throwing out your back won't clear the walk, and winter brings plenty of misery as it is. Why add to it?

My next-door neighbor once asked his yoga teacher, “What is the best yoga?” Dr. Arya told him: “The best yoga is putting-on-your-shoes yoga.”

The best exercise is the kind that you get in the course of everyday life. In these over-fed, under-worked days, the art lies in arranging your life so as to get as much of that kind of exercise as possible.

So you can keep your fumes-y, whining snow-blower for all of me, thank you very much. Snow-blowing makes you weak. Shoveling makes you strong.

Better the slow and quiet balance of muscle with snow-weight. Better the dance of body-mind with frozen winter crystal.

Better, far, the snow-mind.

Push and two and push and two and lift and throw and




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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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