by Mitch Lee
I was so excited that first winter I began snow blowing the driveway at our Limekiln Lake home. As an 11 year old, not only was it a rite of passage to step behind the controls of that machine, but it made me feel pretty cool too.
After a few snowfalls I had mastered the controls of the loud, bone-shaking beast and could put the snow wherever I wanted.
It occurred to me that having control over where the chute spit the snow was akin to being all-powerful.
I hatched a plan to see just how high a mound of snow I could make in the center of our circular driveway.
For almost two weeks, with every snowfall I aimed my chute and all the fallen snow to a rounded mound about twenty-five feet in diameter.
When finished I would put the snow blower in the garage, don my snowshoes, and pack my newly blown snow as tightly as I could by stomping back and forth across the surface.
I repeated the process until the mound was so tall and compact that I couldn’t throw any more snow on it without it spilling back into the driveway.
Using a small army shovel, over the next few days I craftily burrowed tunnels into the snow mound, making connecting passageways and little tower-like fortress openings where I could spy on anyone who came down the road.
I used my metal flying saucer as a door and made a Great Room, like an igloo, where four children could camp out if needed.
My dog Mutt was very intrigued with the catacomb system. She scurried in and out to check on the progress and made full use of the top tower as a sentinel area.
I made snowballs and tossed them into the adjoining snow banks across the driveway and she would scramble through the tunnels to see if she could burrow into the snow with her head to find them.
Every time she came back into the snow castle she would sneeze and try to bite the snow pellets between her paws.
I picked the small formations of snow pills from my mittens and sleeves.
It was not long before the small flakes of flittering snow falling from the sky had turned heavy.
In just under an hour enough snow had formed that I had to drag the snow blower out and clean up the area once again.
Mitch Lee, Adirondack native & storyteller,
lives at Inlet. firstname.lastname@example.org