I love shoveling!

2010-03-16 21:43:49.000 – John Bauhs,  Summit Volunteer

Shoveling the tower today.

I love snow. I love to watch it fall and I love to shovel it. I especially love snow because I know I will have to shovel it. The more it snows, the more I have to shovel…it’s a happy parallel. Growing up in Wisconsin, my dad let me do all the shoveling. As a young boy, before I was allowed to use the gas mower in the summer, snow shoveling was a ‘big boy’ thing to do…it made me feel proud to help my family and neighbors by completing a useful task.

I have never figured out why anyone wouldn’t like to shovel snow. I admit: It is very hard work. It is hard on the back. It actually sends a lot of people to the chiropractor each winter. It is also hard on the shoulders. They tire easier than you would think. And many cardiologists become very busy during the snow shoveling months. The good news is that 15 minutes of snow shoveling counts as moderate physical activity according to the 1996 Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health. I find shoveling to be mentally relaxing and very rewarding. You’re presented with a clear set of objectives (snow from point A to point B) and there are clear parameters for success…when the snow is cleared…you’ve succeeded!

Since moving to the Mid-Atlantic – first Virginia, and now Maryland, I haven’t been able to exercise my snow shoveling passions as much I would desire. If you lived near me in either of those states, you benefited from my snow removal obsession. I was (and still am) ‘that guy’ that gets up at the crack of dawn to shovel my walks and the sidewalks and stairs of all my neighbors. Imagine my joy this year when the greater Washington, DC area received a historic amount of snow! I was in a high state of shovel euphoria!

My excitement peaked the other morning when, on the summit, we were presented with a monumental snow drift at the main entrance of the Sherman Adams Building…it was one of the largest I have ever seen! Given that we had high east winds combined with 17 inches of snow…well, we had a really, really nice drift! It took five of us nearly an hour to move the snow away from the entrance. Although I was exhausted at the end, I enjoyed every minute of the task.

I encourage all of you in snow country (and those of you in more temperate regions) to exercise your right to be passionate about snow and snow shoveling! Become a member of the Mount Washington Observatory, schedule a week on the summit as a volunteer, and you too might be able to be ‘that guy’ (or lady) who gets to shovel the really, really big drift!


John Bauhs,  Summit Volunteer

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