The Winter of Sisyphus


Yesterday’s view out our front door

This morning I looked out the window and saw a neighbor shoveling snow. With each new scoop, thrown onto the gigantic pile next to his driveway, at least half rolled back down. I immediately thought of the story of Sisyphus (didn’t everyone)?

You know, in Greek mythology, the first king of Ephyra who was a chronic liar and all around bad guy who murdered and pillaged and…well, read about all the heinous things he did here on Wikipedia. The story goes that Zeus (after being tricked and betrayed by Sisyphus) gave Sisyphus the punishment to forever roll an immense boulder up a steep hill, only to watch it roll back down…repeating this action endlessly.

Yesterday we got another foot of snow, on top of Juno’s (the blizzard last week or was it the week before?) two feet and another smaller storm in between and a few inches or so before that… well, I honestly can’t remember the progression of the layers and layers and feet of snow.

Here’s what I do know. We have a lot of snow. A. Lot. Of. Snow. Feet and feet of it. Spilling onto the porch from the ground (and our porch is three feet off the ground), blocking one end of our driveway (we have two entrances, thank goodness), covering our basement windows (will they leak, who knows?). Encasing one of our cars (I don’t really want to drive anywhere until tomorrow to be honest). Delaying school. Forcing people to work from home. You get my drift (yes, pun intended).

When we texted our daughter a picture, she immediately replied. “Can you get out?”

I mused to MEH (My Engineer Husband) what will happen with the next storm (predicted for Wednesday night into Thursday) and the one after that and the one after that… where will the snow go?

One of MEH’s co-workers emailed his department that she’s working at home again today: “I give up. I want to hide until Spring.”

We all want to give up. We all want spring. Well, everyone I talk to. That’s MEH, because I actually haven’t talked to anyone in person in about three days. I deposited checks (for the first time) with my phone app. I’ve barely stepped outside my door in two days. Did I mention we have a lot of snow, and it’s hard to get around?

Tomorrow I plan to go to the gym, but until then just call me Sisyphus. And the winter is my boulder.

But for what am I being punished?

Is it the plight of the writer, thus to be punished? I’ve made up lies upon lies—lets call it fiction. And now, after stories, pages, hundreds and thousands and millions of words of lies, I’m condemned to the life of Sisyphus, forever rolling the piles of snow up onto the berms surrounding my house, my car, my exit from the life of the hermit writer.

The writing life.


  1. Julia — The photo of “yesterday’s view out our front door” reminded me why we moved last year to a still-four-seasons-but-moderate-climate last year. Holy Toledo!

  2. Paula says:

    I have never seen that much snow in my life! Except for two years in England, I have never livd farther north than TN… and that’s not north. 😉 It sounds like you know how to cope well, though. Pretty sure my family and I would all be stressed out messes. That being said, the snow is beautiful and makes everything seem like a peaceful wonderland. I love the way it makes the black of night seem not so black sometimes.

    • It is a huge amount of snow… with more coming. Generally I handle it well (we don’t really have a choice), but there are moments when I do stress out. And I know what you mean about the night. The reflection of the light off the snow can make it seem lighter! Thank you for your comment and your visit to my blog, Paula!

  3. Maybe I shouldn’t mention the gorgeous, 70-degree days we’ve been getting down here lately. Nope, not going to mention them. 😉 But you’re looking at it all wrong, Julia. It isn’t punishment for making up lies; it’s an excuse to stay inside for the writing marathon to beat all marathons! Either that or to call it a snow day like everyone with traditional jobs and read as many books as you can before the sun comes out.

    • YES!!! Writing is made easier by not being able to go outside as much leading to more writing marathons — I like the way you think! And snow days of reading are wonderful too. Nonetheless, ship me a couple of 70 degree days 😉

  4. Chris Jones says:

    Wow. I’ve never seen so much snow before. This is what got me, Julia: “Delaying school.” If we got two feet in VA, we would be done for weeks. We delay here for two inches. Mind blown. 🙂

    • It’s an impressive amount of snow by any standards, Chris. That’s so true that different regions handle snow differently, I know what you mean. We have snow moving equipment around here that is crazy big, so that helps, but there are still snow days galore (as evidenced in Boston where they had about 6 in a row!).

  5. Cherry Harris says:

    I am so glad you can use humor to get you through . We had a little dredging of snow over the last couple of days (I bet you wish you’d got that much ) and I am so enjoying the beautiful painting nature has bestowed on me . I hope you are keeping warm at home …if you can’t get to the gym run around the house, if it don’t work, at least it’ll keep you warm .

    • It is beautiful (at times, when it’s light, I agree). As for running around the house, I have, haha, and I wonder what the neighbors think when they see me… who cares, it keeps me warm as you say!!

  6. Susan says:

    My Boston kids are getting a little sick of the snow, too. They love the beauty of it, but when you have to go to work, that’s another story. Here in our part of Virginia, we can’t seem to buy a snow day. It is terribly windy today and the temps will be plummeting down to 18 by tonight. But no snow. Drat!

    • I very much wish I could send this impending Nor’Easter your way, Susan! You want the snow yet we get (more of) it… doesn’t seem equitable, but I suppose that’s Mother Nature for you, right? Nice to see you on the blogging circuit again, friend 🙂

  7. Oh my gosh. You crack me up. Glad you have a sense of humor and power. I think?! xoxo

  8. I’m with Annie on this one. Think of it as a good excuse to hunker down and write your heart out. (Or if you prefer Cheryl Strayed’s more colorful phrase… :0 )

    Ugh, you really got the brunt of Juno. At least it looks nice and white. In NYC the snow gets brown and disgusting very quickly. Is this amount of snow unusual for Maine?

    Come on, spring!

    • Hunkering and writing!!! I *DO* prefer Cheryl’s more colorful phrase and have been using it a lot lately, no joke 🙂

      As for this much snow being unusual? YES. It’s insanely more than usual, maybe the 3rd or 4th snowiest in history!

      I’m with you, come on spring!!

  9. Nina says:

    I’ve been thinking about all my North East friends!

    This was such a great post, Julia. The Sisyphus was so well done and so apt.

    • Thanks so much, Nina, I do appreciate your kind words so much. I hope Minnesota has been spared such a brutal winter. I lived there for a semester (college), and honestly Maine feels more like Minnesota these days. It’s unusually cold… here’s to an early spring, right?

  10. Sarah says:

    How could I not visit a post with a title like this? “The Winter of Sisyphus”? Brilliant. 😀 That is awesome. Love the whole post.