All praise the plowman | AspenTimes.com

All praise the plowman

Paul E. Anna
Aspen, CO Colorado

It just keeps on coming.

In this mother of all winters, the storms keep rolling in, the snow keeps falling, and the piles get ever higher each and, it seems, every day.

For those in the ski game, it gets no better. For those in the tourist business, this is what the hyperbole in the brochures is all about. Those who toil in construction know it’s a good thing they got the roof on and the heaters in before the snow flew in December.

But the one who is most intensely affected by this winter of 2007-08 must be the plowman.

A day or a night has not gone by for close to six weeks when someone, somewhere doesn’t depend on the chaining of the tires, the dropping of the blade, and the unwavering concentration of the plowman.

It can be a state highway, a city street, a neighborhood cul-de-sac, or, in my case, a dirt road at 8,800 feet. Regardless, nobody is moving on any of them this winter until the plowman makes his rounds. They are the people who are making it possible for us to get to the slopes, the markets, the schools and our places of work and worship.

And yet, despite their efforts they remain anonymous. Overworked and assuredly underpaid, he toils in the isolation of the cab of his truck or bobcat, listening to the late-night and early morning radio shows for companionship as he navigates by the snow-covered lights of his vehicle, squinting into the darkness that is peppered with white flakes screaming down from the skies.

You think this is over the top? An exaggeration? You try spending an hour, let alone eight, hunched over the wheel of a truck, moving snow that you can’t see but certainly feel, into piles without getting stuck in snowbanks. Try running a groove down a street with just enough momentum to get to the end and then having to stop short because a car is buried up to its windows just before you get there.

See how your shoulders, your neck, your back feel at the end of the shift because you’ve been tensed from your toes to the top of your head in a non-ergonomic truck seat for a full shift. And hopefully you were smart enough not to sit on your wallet or your hip will be numb until you start all over again tomorrow. Oh, and I’m sure the thermos of coffee and the bag of chips kept you going because there is no time to eat in this winter of all winters.

So when you climb in the bus this morning to Highlands, when you head up Highway 82 to get to work, when you drive to Basalt for dinner, remember that it is the plowman that lets you get to where your going.

All praise the plowman.


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