Well, friends and neighbors, it’s official: we’ve been getting lots of snow in these here parts. I’d been suspicious for some time now, what with all the shoveling and all but now I is no longer merely a hick with a hunch; I’s now an informed citizen. It’s in the newspaper.
Not counting the two or three snows that we had in November, since winter can’t officially begin until December, we’ve had almost thirty-five inches of the white stuff in Saint Joe this year. Not much by Cleveland and Buffalo standards but that’s over three times the yearly average for the place where the Pony Express began and Jesse James ended. And we’ve got the potholes to prove it.
I’m sure that there’s some textbook somewhere, probably in a civil engineering school, that has the formula for calculating both the number and average size of potholes. No doubt, it incorporates such factors as surface temperature, composition of paving material, ground temperature, moisture content of accumulated snow and age of snowplow driver. I do know, without benefit of that formula, that the size and number of potholes increases noticeably with each pass of those heavy steel blades. Each frozen clump takes with it more loose material out of the hole when the plow rips across and so the hole gets bigger with each cycle.
I suppose one could argue that this phenomenon presents us with a dilemma: to plow or not to plow? Let’s see, should we leave an accumulating base of treacherous snow packed into ice or should we provide a safe driving surface? If we clear away the ice/snow, folks will complain about the potholes. If we don’t, they’ll complain about the wrecks and broken utility poles. So far, we’re still going with trying to clear the roads. It’s more work and requires some follow-up with patching and paving.
It’s not completely unlike the continual work of self-examination and repentance necessary to keep our minds, hearts and lives free of sin. It’s tempting to overlook those convenient little vices, isn’t it? Tempting and treacherous. Better to hit a bump now and then and dodge a few potholes than to go sliding off the bluff.