This Old Gray Mare Can Learn

I did something today that I’ve never done in all my years of shoveling my mother’s driveway: I left part of the job undone.

We had roughly six or seven inches of snow overnight Sunday into Monday (yesterday), and since no one needed to come and go yesterday at Mom’s I decided to let her snow removal (one of my tasks for her) wait until today, which is a day I am usually at Mom’s anyway.

The storm ended yesterday morning. Then apparently the sun must have come out from behind the clouds post storm because when I went to shovel this morning, much of the snowpack had 1″ – 2″ of ice crust on the bottom from melting and refreezing.

Yee haw. Five or six inches of snow on top of ice crust just waiting for my li’l ol’ arms and back to shovel it away.

I am no spring chicken. I’m an old gray mare, and definitely not what I used to be.

Nonetheless, I chopped, pushed, and shoveled and chopped, pushed, and shoveled, making my way ever so slowly down Mom’s sidewalk and drive. By the time I got to the street end of her two-cars-wide driveway, I was spent.

I had nothing left.

But I still had the snowplow’s snow piles at the end of her drive to remove so we could access her driveway from the street.

So, ever so wearily, one slow shovel at a time, I nibbled away at the snowplow’s snow piles at her driveway’s end, chopping and shoveling and chopping and shoveling some more.

Then it occurred to me. There is usually only one car at Mom’s at any given time. At nearly 96 years old and living on her own in her own home, Mom has me or health care aides or Meals on Wheels folks stopping by daily, but just one person at a time. I only needed to clear enough space for one vehicle to pull through. 🤪

At this point I was so exhausted I could barely pick up the shovel, so I made an executive decision: For this snowfall, I would shovel only one lane at the end of Mom’s drive; just enough for one vehicle to pull in and out. That is all she needs.

And that was all that (and very nearly more than) this gray mare could manage today.

The shoveling job at Mom’s is all done now, except for that half of the roadside end of her drive that I left undone. That should suffice.

It has to suffice. It’s all I could do.

I find it difficult to believe I had to quit though, especially since I’m not one to give up easily and I’ve never given up on snow shoveling before.

I am, however, surprisingly okay with my decision. I’d reached my limit. At nearly 60 years old, I think I’m allowed to have limits.

Today, I respected that limit. I had to.

I guess I really am getting old.

This old gray mare may not be what she once was, but she is at least recognizing her limitations. And that means she’s still learning.

I can live with that. If I’m learning, I’m still growing, and if I’m growing I must still be alive. That is certainly better than the alternative!

Now I think I better find the heating pad and take some Aleve or I might not be able to move tomorrow.

Even if I can’t move, I’ll still be learning!

Until next time,


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I'm a middle-aged woman, a love-my-seeester twin, a happy 37-year wife to my BFF, mother of four terrific thirty-something kids, MeeMaw to three precious grands, Momma to three Labrador retrievers (Pinot, Tuc, and Chessie) and silly mutt named Merlin, and all around kid-at-heart who loves the outdoors, finds giggle-factor in the ordinary, and is relishing this Autumn phase of her life. It may be Autumn, but there's so much more to learn and explore! Won't you join me?

4 thoughts on “This Old Gray Mare Can Learn”

    1. Thanks so much for your kind, encouraging words! I hope to keep writing for a long long time. 😋😜🥰 And I am hoping to pst here at least three or four times per week. We’ll see how it goes. Thank you again. Enjoy!


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