Neighborhood in Winter

So it’s winter in Minnesota and I’m trying to write about community when everyone on my street is hibernating in their warm houses except for the brief excursions into the frigid air to push a shovel or snow blower or walk a dog. When I see one of my neighbors, both of us bundled head to toe and nearly unrecognizable, we nod, wave and hurry home. No pausing at the end of a driveway to chat about the weather, to swap gardening tips,  to scratch the doggy’s ear.

I miss those brief interactions that let me know I live among friendly people who know my name, but there’s still evidence of them, even when I don’t see my neighbors. The footprints and pawprints along the snowy sidewalk. The snow blower tire tracks. The yellow snow, so much yellow snow. It’s a riot to see how all the dogs tend to pee in the same places (my territory, woof!).

We are responsible for shoveling the sidewalks in front of our houses and around the fire hydrants. Within a day of snowfall, most of the sidewalks and fire hydrants are cleared. I’ve been here for nine winters and that has held true through all of them. The snow hasn’t been as plentiful or wet in the last couple years, but when it is, snowmen and forts arise in white wonder.

Dear Neighbors, I know you are there. I look forward to seeing you come spring!


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