I'm speaking of that same little bit of paradise I wrote about Dec. 3, “A little bit of paradise. I don't know how else to describe our home in Scioto County. We are situated in the Shawnee State Forest not far from the Camp Oyo Boy Scout enclave.
“This time of year, the grandeur of fall has faded with the falling leaves and the forest has taken on its winter hues, a wondrous mixture of grays, browns, blacks, mixed with the deep richness of the evergreen pines.”
Well, those wondrous winter hues also include white - snowfalls that turn those evergreen pines into picture postcard scenes.
The same snowfalls that reveal tracks of wildlife that lead virtually to our front door.
The same snowfalls creating nature's backdrop for the pairs of spectacular cardinals that bless our lives in the pines adjacent to our front porch.
And, oh yes, the rain that turns into the snowfalls that turn to ice - the godawful stuff that challenges one's commitment to live in paradise. (Thank God we weren't here during the recent monstrous ice storm.)
Being one of only four families living on a lane into Shawnee State Forest is indeed cool - most of the time. But it's trying when you awake in the morning to discover the lane has disappeared beneath a blanket of snow and the meadow where we love to feed the animals now extends to the creek on the other side of the road.
Fortunately, most times a neighbor (a veteran forest dweller, no doubt) challenges Old Man Winter and charts a course to Ohio 125. Now, traveling Ohio 125 some mornings is another story for another day! We are thankful, however, for the road crews that make that travel much less a white-knuckle ride than it looks.
I admit my winter driving skills are less than desireable for a Buckeye state native.
So when I leave home in the mornings, my wife calls her folks, Elizabeth and Larry Banch, who live halfway between our place and U.S. 52 - which I consider relative safety. They alert my wife when I go past on my way to work. I call home when I get to work. I guess the premises is that if I don't show up, searchers will have some idea which snowbanks to check for me. Quite a process, huh?
And yes, I am the one holding up traffic on your morning commute.
The real challenge is the driveway to the house when it ices over. It enters by the lower meadow, runs up a hill to where the home sits, runs back down the hill and curves back into entryway. It's steep and winds through the pines.
In the summer, it's a delight. In the winter, it's anything but.
Going up, I've learned to throw caution to the wind and step on the gas - or risk dawdling along and spin out half-way up the hill. Going down, however, it's grandma time - or you'll slide, overshoot the driveway and wipe out the carport on the way down. Not to mention my wife's car.
Therein lies my dilemma:
To open a skating rink for would-be hockey players, or park down by the roadway (when I can see it) and hope my car doesn't get glazed over in ice overnight - or I fall on my keister (again) trying to walk down to it.
What price we pay for paradise.
Art Kuhn is managing editor of the Daily Times. Contact him at (740) 353-3101, Ext. 244, e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to 637 Sixth St., Portsmouth, OH 45662.