Wednesday, January 22, 2020

If You Can Hear Me, Send Tim Hortons

Meanwhile, in Newfoundland...
The data are in for the great snow emergency of 2020 in Portland, Oregon: it did not get down to the predicted twelve degrees, or within twenty degrees of it; snow accumulation topped out in the neighborhood of zero inches. Most citizens are accounted for and those who are not are assumed to be the kind that never answer a text anyway.

In contrast, our friend Kelly, an authentic Canadian, flew to Newfoundland recently and hasn't been seen since. In fact, Newfoundland in its entirety has disappeared under several meters of indigenous locally-sourced weather, a.k.a. Freedom Flakes. There is enough space between flakes to slide out some internet but otherwise there is no exit hole, and consequently Kelly has yet to surface. She did emit a photograph of snow completely covering her back door (not her personal back door, but the door to her house) and it is assumed and hoped that she and her loved ones are well supplied with cod tongues, scrunchions, and seal flipper pie, which is the ideal comestible for emergency rationing. I have tasted seal before and can vouch for its usefulness in helping you lose interest in food altogether.

Kelly is in there somewhere.
Northern people have the awesomest excuses for not coming to work.

I'll be as sorry as anyone if it is eventually discovered that Newfoundland has sunk below the sea without first disgorging our Kelly, but the thing is, seeing the picture of the door buried in snow immediately brought to mind a favorite fantasy of mine from childhood. I used to imagine that we'd get snow so deep that I'd have to open the door and tunnel to my neighbor Susie's house. She'd be tunneling too. There would be side shoots and mazes. It would be fabulous.

And whereas it might have occurred to me that it would be a logistical crapshoot for Susie's tunnel to meet up with my tunnel, it did not once cross my mind that you can't dig a tunnel if you don't have any place to stash the diggin's. My mother was a tidy woman and would not have approved of storing excavated snow in the living room. No, for some reason I thought I could just punch the tunnel through.

(I also thought, as a child, that ants lived in little sand pyramids, and not that the pyramids were just what they quarried from their underground tunnels. It is a wonder, given my deductive powers, that I ever got a science degree at all.)

What this does show, though, is the consistency of my inner spiritual habitat. Sensible people the world over imagine coming back as something that flies through the air, or frolics in the sea, or thunders across the plain. All my dreams take place in burrows. They might have gingham check cafe curtains and cheery cupboards but they are decidedly underground, and they have nooks and crannies and special rooms for special purposes.

Early Murr and friend
Otters have dens and guest rooms and bonus rooms and rec rooms and pantries and potties but the scary underwater entrance holes are a deal-breaker. A prairie dog arrangement is more to my taste. Prairie dogs live in towns and the towns are subdivided into "wards," although they missed a bet not calling them "boroughs." It is a tunneler's paradise. A prairie dog can pop down an entrance hole and you won't know where it will pop up again, thanks to all the gerrymandering.

Meanwhile, back in Newfoundland, provincial preparedness personnel are proposing an air drop to pepper the population with poutine packets, pointing to their penetrating properties. Hang on, Kelly.

24 comments:

  1. Sounds like you're a "Wind in the Willows" kinda gal. I sometimes fantasize about our groundhogs (which have tunnels under our neighbor's shed and our firewood pallet) and how they spend their winter semi-hibernation. I imagine them getting the stockpiled cracked corn from their larder (which we put out in the driveway for them and the squirrels and doves) and making a nice polenta on their wood stove. Perhaps they've even fermented some, so they have jugs of corn whiskey to wash it down with. They will then sit in their den by the fire and binge-watch Netflix before dozing off again for a prolonged slumber. I suspect that groundhog dens are mighty cozy.

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    1. Every time I see one of those Frodoid holes I swoon.

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  2. I saw the news about Maritime Canada's latest snowfall. Pretty impressive! We got another foot or two of the devil's dandruff over the weekend which makes ours about waist deep on a normal sized person.

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    1. And on me, it is shlurf shllurf shnufffff

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    2. Maritime Canada comprises only Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island, thus missing out on the most important province. Atlantic Canada includes Newfoundland.

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    3. Sorry to be a stickler about my home and native land.

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    4. I appreciate the correction. We stand on guard for thee!

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    5. I'm just thrilled half to death you know how to use "comprise" right!

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  3. And, as I'm sure you well know, prairie dog digs are recyclable by burrowing owls!
    Cop Car

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    1. Man, at first I thought you said owls recycle prairie dogs.

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    2. As they do. They cough up the bony bits in pellets.

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    3. Owl pellets are post-consumer recycled content.

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  4. I somehow envision you as a badger from England. Tidy with your apron reading books in your burrow

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  5. Yes, Newfoundland really got clobbered, and right after having a couple other big storms. There are only so many places to put the stuff, as you pointed out about making tunnels.

    Back before people were all about preventive measures to keep kids safe, we DID tunnel through the snow. It wasn't the brightest idea, because if it wasn't just the right texture, it fell in immediately. If it WAS the right texture, it fell in later when the weather warmed up. Good way to lose kids. When I think about it now, I still feel like I'm losing my breath, even though we never had it happen while we were in the tunnels. It has happened to others, though.

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    1. WHERE did you have snow high enough for tunnels?

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    2. Well, it snowed a lot some winters, and it didn't melt like it does nowadays, which was a good start. And then my dad ran a gas station and garage with a big front yard, and that was all plowed to the sides. So there were some pretty tall snow mountains :)

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  6. What? Are you telling me that ants don’t live in little sand pyramids?

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    1. Pfft.... I suppose next she'll be telling us that they don't make little clay ant sphinxes next to their ant pyramids....

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    2. It's just where they store their dead.

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    3. No. It's where they store their grain.

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  7. I saw St John's on the TV news here a few days ago, it's looks amazing, like a meringue factory exploded, but I'm glad I don't live there and have to tunnel my way out.

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