The world has fallen into quiet solitude. The children are soundly sleeping, the well stoked fire has hushed its crackle, and even my husband has paused his intermittent snoring. All is calm, all is peaceful, all is well. The snowfall blankets the windows, the roof, the cars and the driveway as well as the hedge, by the now empty, midnight road.
A low, deep far rumble can faintly be heard by a careful listener, (the only one who awakens to the low rumble of the furnace kicking on, or the whine of the radon pump starting up from a faucet left dripping after teeth brushing). From a deep sleep to alert, awake and worried in a fraction of a second, my breath stops. I thought we had made it through this one without the midnight rumbling, gravely visitor. I thought it was too early, or rather too late for him to come.
The plow man.
Will he dig up the freshly, frozen, barely frozen mud? What if he hits the tongue of the boat, newly placed in the side yard? Thud. Scrape. Clank. I think that was the edge of the cold yellow blade hitting against the plastic of my car’s driver side mirror. The sound stops. He must have scraped something, or crushed something, or noticed a broken something now dragged across the drive and shining in his harsh bright headlights.
Seconds tick by, seemingly like hours. Should I get up? Should I find my pajama pants and slippers and coat and mittens and hat and scarf?
Scrape. Thump. Pause…Scrape.
If it was something, it is now done. The blue plastic sled, now split in two? A mirror dangling sadly from a vehicle parked too close to his path? A forgotten summer toy, now broken into unrecognizable plastic shards?
Scrape. Thud. Scrape. Pause…Reving engine roar. Scrape. Engine roar fading, softer and softer.
He is gone. So quick, he did not wake the children, or disturb the husband. In and out, here and gone. Tomorrow will reveal the results, the damage, the needed repairs.
Morning breaks cold and with more snow, or maybe rain and sleet. Wrapping myself in bathrobe, slippers, and thick pajama pants, I glance out the side window. I peer out the front window. I survey the drive through the hall window. I press my nose against the girl’s bedroom window. No glaring damage. No ruts or tracks of uprooted yard. No shards of demolished plastic. No dangling car or boat parts.
Just a simple clear path is cut in the white snow, ready for us to both get out the driveway and on to work for the day.
Thank you plow man.