“You call this snow?” he shouts down from the top of his truck.

I can tell he’s an oldtimer who at age six found the snow high over his head.

No. I didn’t call it snow. I still haven’t. Perhaps by the time you open this paper there will be. I doubt it. There may be a teaser, a patina of something that passes for snow. It will be white and coat my driveway. But it won’t be snow.

“Something wicked this way comes,” Shakespeare’s witch intoned. It’s called “earth warming.” By now we should be at least up to our knees in something resembling snow.

David, the snowplow man, is standing looking out his window, his hands in his empty pockets just as I am, and wondering where it is.

January is ugly without snow. At least with snow up to the windows we could all stand and hum carols and pretend Christmas is going to start over again.


Turning around to face the room is depressing. I took all the Christmas stuff down yesterday and swept up the glitter and cleaned the house. I’ve done two laundries and washed everything that looked dirty just to keep busy. It’s all done now, which means I’m forced to sit down at the computer and ply my trade.

I don’t want to work on my memoirs because I’m at a part that makes me cry. Actually most of it makes me cry. I had a rather exciting and adventurous but horrid early childhood that put on paper makes for good reading. I’m not going to write about that today, because you only paid a buck fifty for this paper, and I’ll need you to pay much more for the book so that I can pay the snowplow man … if he has to come.

When the snow does come, many will be thrilled thinking they can finally indulge themselves in those pernicious games of winter the rich love so much. Looking out at the fluffy white stuff blowing by, they’ll get the skis unpacked, the good brandy uncorked and snowshoes readied for long cold treks into the woods.

Of course they’ll be disappointed because it will stop too soon and melt. This winter so far is a like a magician’s trick. Now you see it, now you don’t.

I’m no fan of snow, but Jack the dog likes the snow. He likes to get out there and jam his nose in it and run around like he’s a real sheep dog. I feel sorry for him as he watches the sky. I can imagine that in the primal corridors of his mind he’s back in time looking for sheep to herd, to get them into the pen before dark and the drifts pile up.

I’ve told him over and over since he was a puppy that he should give it up, that he’s not a real sheep dog. He’s an Old English sheep dog. He was bred to be the stuff of calendars and stuffed toys, to be featured in movies where they need a big cuddly dog for everyone to hug and love, not run around and do serious farm work.

He sulks when I tell him that. He replies by telling me that I’m not a real writer but simply a cheerful hack trying to write himself into two rooms with a hot plate in Key West.

A few flakes flutter past the window, and he whines in anticipation. So I let him out and watch him from the warm comfort of my kitchen, where I am making “ochanomizu.” That’s Japanese for tea water. See? You learned something entirely new today by reading this. Isn’t that worth a buck and half? And he called me a hack.

J.P. Devine is a Waterville writer.

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