There are three things I dont much like about snow, the way it falls, the length of time it stays, and the way it goes, slowly and sloppily, which is the part were in right now. Now dont think me a complete Scrooge! I am not so far gone that a thick silent blanket of infinite stillness cannot move me on a dark night in November. I am not a person who would or could sit oblivious in the house with construction of a snow fort in progress just outside the window. Without shame I confess to firsthand knowledge of the prickly thrill that assails the person who cracks the thin morning ice cap on a March puddle. But after the crackling comes the puddle, the sinking, soaking sogging of a sock in a shoe on a foot that might have worn a boot just a few days earlier.
Try as I might, I cannot think of a more perplexed and befuddled being than a blind person who unexpectedly encounters the deep section of a puddle. The colder the puddle, the nicer the shoe, the more perplexed and befuddled that person will be. Conditions call for immediate escape. But how?
There are always three choices. You can step backward out of the puddle and try to go around. This requires the constant testing of the edges to determine where the perimeter might lie. After all is said and done, it sometimes impossible to make the adjustments that would continue the journey without re-entering the pond. The pond is always colder the second time. You can step backward out of the puddle and go back where you came from. This necessitates cancelling the journey, an unpopular decision if, for example, you are on your way to a meeting and its your turn to bring the doughnuts. Ultimately, and this is the choice I most often opt for, you can plunge ahead, hoping you have already experienced the deepest part and the far side is very near.
Its a risky business. Experience has repeatedly taught me that puddles, ponds of still water that they are, run deep, deep as your ankle sometimes, deeper at others. And they run cold. Cold water can cause unusual thinking. You start to wonder, for example, how long it took Marilyn Bell to swim across Lake Ontario which, if I recall, was extremely cold, though I do not believe there was any ice floating there when she swam. . And you start thinking about that Dennis Lee poem you used to read to the kids: Im sitting in the middle of a rather muddy puddle with my bottom full of bubbles and my rubbers full of mud.
Your minds ear can hear the gurgling. Your minds imagination begins to form the story you would tell, how the neighbours rushed out to find you laughing dementedly in the water. And that is when you have to hurry, to surge forward and find the opposite shore as quickly as possible, just in case you cannot resist the urge to sit right down.