(published in Moonshine Ink in March, 2012)
You named me Sparky in 2009 after we hit the rock pile you had neglected to spread around the driveway. They spewed out of me like bullets serenading the neighbor’s RV, leaving tiny dents that caught new snow flakes like leopard spots on a machine named Good Times. When you heard the rocks chewing in my guts, your hand pulled off the auger lever so fast you didn’t even turn me off before checking my pins. You were thrilled I wasn’t broken and I was relieved I didn’t accidentally mangle your fingers like the graphic picture on my bucket.
In 2010, you threw off my tarp in October. It seemed too early, but I was happy to see you. I asked if you would consider a nice blue tarp instead of that torn up black one you seem set on keeping me under. You said sure. Had I known you would not put me away until June, I would never have complained at all.
Every day in December, you woke up early to be with me, to shoddily snow blow the driveway so you could get first tracks. I have never seen you so elated. I was too, for I had face shots all morning and first tracks every morning! It was my prime! I could blow snow so high that it sprinkled the trees white again. No berm was too tall. No snow was too heavy. We were kings amongst pines! We were unstoppable.
Then March arrived. It was a bluebird day with three feet of fresh powder. I remember it because you slept in. You told me your Subaru could not bust through that berm. It was the first time you had ever lied to me.
You took your time that day, using the shovel to knock down the edges of a driveway that had become suspiciously narrow. When my bucket undercut the western edge of the snow berm, my rainbow of sun-soaked powder hit that tree and two days of dense accumulation avalanched around us. I was completely buried. You were stuck to your waste. I thought I heard a sob. It didn’t come from me.
You slammed your duct-taped gloves against my handles and cursed the broken stillness of midmorning. I reached my neck as I high as I could. I angled my shoot as precisely as physics would allow, but the snow tumbled back down into the driveway. The walls were too high. They were too sharp of angles. From then on you made me blow snow into the middle of the driveway and then blow it out again over the walls. We were becoming buried on the sunniest days of the season.
Then in April you lost the lid of your favorite coffee cup. We both assumed it was in your car, buried under skies and your shovel. But I found it. Your hands let go of me the same way as when I chomped those rocks. We watched tiny flecks of black plastic sprinkle across the middle of the driveway. You were so defeated you made me eat them again as I shot them up and over the final berm.
You became haggard. Your mornings became a little later and five inches of fresh snow was now something to consider.
Sometimes you just stayed inside. I can’t say I minded. We both knew my tracks had started to slip. My bucket that was usually so sharp and steady just bounced up and down along the jagged potholes of snow. The edges of the driveway had curved exponentially, tipping me to a forty-five degree angle. Your strained grip on my tired handles pressured me to find pavement, to hear the sweet orgasmic sound of icy concrete scraping against the bottom of my bucket.
The winter of 2011 bonded us, but I did not think it was enough to break us. When it finally stopped snowing in May, and you put my new shiny blue tarp on me, I was relieved that I had not fallen out of favor. But why have you not taken it off? A year has gone by. I have counted the months and felt the air change. It is 2012 now and the days are growing longer and you have not used me once!
After it snowed in January I thought you had moved, leaving me here. Did you even consider selling me to another loving owner? Tahoe is not for the weak and I thought you were stronger than this. So where have you been?
The winter of 2012 is nearly over and you think that one day in January is enough for me? I know it snowed it February. You think I can’t tell? I can hear you drive to work. Do you look outside now and just shrug? You let the sun do my job and she melts the snow by noon. Is this why you bought me a new tarp? So you don’t have to look at me? I would appreciate if you would turn me on once in a while. Just come outside, untie this constraining rope from my belly and say hi. I thought we were friends. We went through something last year that most would not have survived. Now I feel abandoned, like I’ve done something wrong. Why won’t you use me? Don’t put that dank black tarp over me again! Why didn’t you throw that away? I can’t take it! It’s not time for summer yet!