We've been warned that most houses in our city will get some water in their basements. I gaze around the foundation of the house and notice where the tiniest of puddles are starting to form. And then I glance at the four feet of snow barring the way to the sewer drain. The same sewer drain that is under at least 8" of ice, that I've been pounding away at, hoping I'm in the right spot.
Meanwhile, children down the block are playing outside. I can hear Nicholas' voice from where I sit. I can see snowballs being lobbed through the air. I sigh and hope no one gets a mouthful of snow and the play comes to a sudden halt.
I hear Astrin cry inside and hope that means Chris will be up from his nap and out soon to rattle the bones of his upper body while chipping away at the ice covering the drain. My body could do with an Astrin-speed walk about now.
And now all five of us are together outside. Placing bets on where that drain is. Getting advice from the neighbour, who has seen plenty of spring thaws and knows exactly where that drain is. Watching in horror as melted water from the sidewalk starts to seep, and then pour into the hole that we've been making. Quickly damming it up with snow, which is still abundant. Pounding some more and damming again. Finding a yogurt container to bail the water with. Hitting what sounds like pavement. Crestfallen when the water doesn't leave the hole. Finding the pitchfork, when we fear we will break the ice chipper the neighbour lent us (for we've already broken one today). Brightening into smiles and celebrating with high fives when the pitchfork pierces through the grating and the water starts to disappear - we were in the right spot after all! Rushing inside for toothpicks so we can pretend they are boats, and see and appreciate the speed of the current we've created, as water drains from the sidewalk and the street.
I feel the need to babysit this hole we've created, and I'm aware I'm likely caring for this sewer drain much like my father would care for the drain by alley at my childhood home every spring. Shepherding any standing water that will eventually find this drain and ushering it there just a wee bit faster.
But I am reminded that it is nearing supper time, and the sewer drain will be fine on it's own now. It doesn't need me. It just needs the sun to continue to melt the snow. I come inside to find dripping wet children with dripping wet socks stuck inside soaking wet boots. We wrap them in towels to dry and warm cold feet, find dry clothes, cuddle the littlest one a bit and wipe her runny nose. Their cheeks are rosy and their bodies are spent.
I'm proud of this day's work and that we accomplished something. This is what I envisioned welcoming spring would look like. Thank you, spring, for arriving!