The sound coming from outside is just unusual enough to make me worry, so I poke my head out the front door:
Chip, chip, chip.
Chip. Chip, chip.
Last week, the sidewalk in front of my house was covered in ice. By the middle of last week, it was covered in ice with two inches of rain- and melt water on top. By the weekend, the ice was again so thick that we could have held an Ice Capades reunion show on the paved area that spans the front of our neighbours’ and our houses.
Today, the sun is shining. The sidewalk is still splattered with great patches of wet, but there’s still a dark, decaying pile of snow and ice, three inches high in the middle, covering our lawn and part of the front of the neighbour’s house.
My boys are out front with the neighbour boys. Snow shovels and hockey sticks in hand, they’re hacking away at that block of ice, trying to free the neighbour boys’ ball hockey net, which has been entombed by ice since December.
Thump. Thump. A piece, maybe four inches long by six inches wide, skitters away from the net. A wrist shot, and the ice goes flying toward the street.
Chip chip chip. Shards of ice get swept away. Another piece of ice breaks free and gets passed, hockey stick to hockey stick, until it rests in the gutter.
There’s still so much ice that they could be out here for the rest of the afternoon, and still wouldn’t get the net free, but no matter. In August, when the umpteenth ball hockey game of the summer is played, when their tired-eyed Moms and Dads grow weary of squinting to follow the ball in twilight and call them in for bed, the boys probably won’t remember the afternoon in March when they systematically chipped away at what was left of winter and threw it to the curb.
But I will.