Here on my hill, looking out at crystals and icicles, I can imagine I am the Snow Queen surveying my wintry domain. It’s 40 below with the wind chill tonight and I need to use snowshoes to refill the bird feeders. And except for the darn, bloody-badly-designed straps, I’m beginning to get the hang of it. Step high, step high, don’t drag.
The last time we ventured in the car down our slope-y driveway, we got stuck on the return trip. T.M. shoveled and sprinkled cat litter and shoveled some more. To no avail. The van continued to scream bloody murder from it’s old and evidently fragile transmission. Finally with the addition of sheets of cardboard jammed beneath the tires, it gave a final roar and lurched forward. It’s been garage bound ever since.
And we’ve been housebound, except when friends come and pick us up for farmer’s market meetings and live stream opera from the Met in Fargo, and Literary Quiz Night at the local library. And the like. But for the most part and after the recent winter blinds-down practice, I’m into a new and heightened phase of claustrophobia (See “46 Days ‘til Spring”).
I doubt the Snow Queen had such difficulties. I picture her wrapped snuggly into a polar bear throw, seated in her crystalline sleigh, pulled by two albino reindeer, bells a-jingling. Out and about in her winter wonderland.
It may look like a winter wonderland here on Mt. Faith, but there is another aspect of this new Minnesota life that we had not bargained for. Yesterday I caught a hint of the dilemma at the tale-end of the Valley News Live broadcast when the reporter concluded with something about the dangers of icicles.
Well, I thought, they certainly look lethal. Magical, but possibly dangerous.
I vowed not to ever stand directly beneath the eaves. Yet a certain niggling concern later in the day, led me to good old google and what I found was shocking. Icicles, it seems, mean ICE DAMS. And ice dams can “Tear off gutters, loosen shingles, cause water to back up and pour into the house and the results aren’t pretty!” Beyond that “They lead to peeling paint, warped floors, sagging ceilings, mold and mildew.”
The directives were just as dour. Clear snow from roof with a roof rake. That’s just the start.
Followed by recommendations about insulation and air flow (or not?) and other technicalities that sound problematic and expensive and far beyond our 70-ish California expertise.
I always wondered why the Snow Queen captured the boy, Kay. Hans Christian Anderson doesn’t specify what she had in mind, nor what Kay did after he got to the palace, other than languishing in cold rooms, “dragging some sharp flat pieces of ice which he placed in all sorts of patterns, trying to make something out of them.”
I had hoped that she wasn’t some sort of cougar pedophile. She did, Anderson tells us, kiss him and have him sleep at her feet. That’s suspicious in itself.
But now I suspect I know the real reason for his captivity. Who better than a young agile lad to get up on that palace roof and rake. And climb through the attic and mend the air spaces and insulation. The “pieces of ice” undoubtedly were the broken off icicles, for want of anything better, cleverly turned into playthings.
The Snow Queen wasn’t a pervert. She was an opportunist.