I have resisted owning a snowblower my entire life and preferred the quiet solitude along with beneficial exercise that comes from hand shoveling my driveway. Through winters in Colorado high country and now Illinois, I have had this philosophy and it has served me well. But this December here in Chicago, where we have already received 22" of snow, I am not finding snow shoveling to be as much fun. I have spent many hours over the last few days digging digging digging myself out and it is still snowing as I type this.
It has not gone unnoticed by me that my snowblower owning neighbors are able to spend more time sitting by their fire or singing carols around their piano, than communing with their snow shovel on the driveway. They are decked in their Christmas sweaters and gathered around their table as I bundle up for yet another go at shoveling. The snowblowing folks spend a fraction of their time outside, zipping up and down for a few passes and then pop back inside. They spend so little time outdoors, they could almost complete the job while brewing a single cup of coffee if need be.
This may be the year that I need to invest in a snowblower. I can think of a million reasons why it would be a good idea to own one. But something nags at me. The resources used to build it and then the energy used to power it. Also, my trusty shovel never breaks down or needs to be repaired. It is quiet and doesn't send wafts of gasoline smell all over the neighborhood. Just like you don't need a clothes dryer to dry your clothes, you don't need a snowblower to clear your driveway. No matter how great the want feels, you really don't need something if you can do the job without it. It all works out. Expending my own personal energy to hang clothes or shovel the drive gives me a greater level of fitness than simply letting machines do all the work.
I need to remind myself that it really does feel good to spend time outdoors in the cold. Pushing the snow across the drive, lifting and tossing it into a growing pile. Finishing the job gives me a great sense of accomplishment, and a warm cup of coffee afterwards makes a great reward. I will hold off on the purchase until I am old and 80. Maybe then, I will purchase one. On second thought, maybe by then, with global warming, it won't be necessary. Funny to think how if I were to purchase a snowblower today with its belching of carbon dioxide, that I would simply be helping the process of global warming along, and essentially helping to cause the obsolescence of the snowblower...and ourselves too I suppose..