Bless the Street Sanders

Winter has no loyalty to the calendar; it starts when it wants to.

And up here in New England, winter wanted to start in mid-November. So it did.

I leave for my walk in the thick dark of early morning. The sky above is the color of eggplant. The ground below is a nasty carpet of ice.

I place my feet more carefully than usual, going for the dull patches, avoiding the shiny patches that reflect in the street lights.

But this week, the city accepted that despite what the calendar says, the season is here in all its slippery glory.

And when I begin my walk, the icy surface of winter has been replaced with big curls of sand thrown across the streets.

My body is less anxious, my stride quickens, my thinking loosens up. It’s not so difficult to move forward; someone came before me and eased the way.

I will never know who the street sanders are. I could be sitting next to her at the dentist’s office or be in the same aisle as him at the library.

But bless the street sanders. Bless them, bless them. And bless the many unknown, unnamed others who clear our path, lessen our load.

This week, my morning walks are gravely, gritty, easy. I’ve got gratitude for the street sanders, the path clearers. And I’ve got a sense that since I will never know these people, the best way to express my gratitude is by looking for ways to be a street sander for those who come after me.

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