February 02, 2011


In addition to this being Groundhog Day, it’s also a Snow Day. They do it sensibly out here.  Schools are closed. Liquor stores are open.

Driving’s tough. A lot of all-season radials are crying on off-ramps. Fools! Even the good drivers stay put -a sensible caution-wanting to avoid the panicked drivers and the silly little all-season radials.

Nevertheless,  it’s a Snow Day. Or, as a five year old friend says: you don’t gotta go day. In the distance, I hear the rumbling of thousands of little feet dancing a dance of freedom. Across the street, little plastic snow shovels are being wielded like weapons. The kids have beaten their snow-ploughshares into swords.

The snow’s lighter than confectioners’ sugar. It won’t stick for a snow man and it won’t keep still for snow angels. It has no balls. There are times when it seems to be sighing more than falling.

And it keeps coming. Our front yard could be the set for Beckett’s “Happy Days” except that the pile is snow -not dirt – and if I were to try to climb it I would plunge to the bottom instead of hanging desperately to its side and sorry for the run-on sentence, but I have no grammar check on this computer.

Other observations on Snow Day: snow suits are cuter, come in better colours, and are less constricting; if they are the same height, you cannot tell one child from another – even your across the street neighbours’ kids; it’s easier to shovel powdery snow 40 times – even all night long, if necessary – than to wake to two feet of slightly melting snow; it’s easier to get rid of  a two foot melting snow pile than the glacier it forms in a Halifax snap-freeze; the guy down the street with the only snowblower on the block a selfish dink; people look very different wearing Russian Red Army hats; plastic bags are not good snow boots; even Oprah Winfrey is interesting after 11 snow shovelling trips and a vodka martini; All- Season tires, in the wrong hands, are very stupid.

We can learn a lot on Snow Day. Except about that the guy down the street. We knew that.


2 Responses to “Groundhog”
  1. Bruce Beaudry

    I’m late. I’m very, very late. I just bought your first album, this far from home, am just listening to it for the first time, and googled you to discover who you are and to see what’s new.

    17 years. I’m sorry I didn’t recognize your name or your face. A Canadian songwriter in my own backyard (in 1994) and I was busy doing something else. I guess I have some catching up to do.

    Groundhog? It would have been a good thing if he hadn’t seen his shadow and burrowed down for another 6 weeks. 6 weeks? This is April 23 in Vancouver and we are just experiencing our firt spring-like day. How’s things out east?

    I promise to pick up Greytown and give you a serious listen.

    Your latest fan, Bruce

  2. Susan

    Hi Bruce,

    Better late than never. There’s a lot of water between This Far From Home and Greytown, and you may find too wide a crossing. I humbly recommend take smaller steps. Now I must – as they say in the New Yorker – block that metaphor.

    Here in the East there are no leaves on trees, no sun in the sky – Greytown, indeed.

    Thanks for writing me – I don’t take kind words for granted.

    Very best,