Friday, December 04, 2015
Lost in the cosmos
No historical record exists to document the size of Paul Bunyan's snowshoes, but they had to be cyclopian.
What is known is that if the big lumberjack wanted pancakes, four boys would skate over his hot frying pan, each with a quarter of a hog strapped to his snowshoes, just to keep the griddle greased.
Paul Bunyan's snowshoes may well have been the size of an acreage.
I say that only because I think mine are just a size smaller. After all, keeping a human being my size atop newly fallen snow requires a significant wingspan. What I'm saying is that my snowshoes are massive, almost planetary. You simply can't lose things that huge.
Somehow, I did. My wife was out of town on the Saturday after our first gorgeous snow, a perfect snow for snowshoeing. I hadn't strapped them up and walked out back for almost a year, so I figured I couldn't do better that bright, sunny day than a hike. I looked in the garage. No shoes.
I looked in the furnace room. No shoes. I looked in the downstairs storage room, the one full of stuff, Christmas stuff too. No shoes. I looked in the spare downstairs bedroom. No shoes.
I tramped through the house once again. Upstairs closet? No shoes. Visited the garage. No shoes. Went back downstairs, visited each space, looked more slowly this time, because my wife has made it memorably clear that my looking for something guarantees nothing. I searched painstakingly in the basement rafters. I could stick them up there, huge as they are, just to get them out of the way.
Third time, third round. No shoes. Fourth round. No shoes.
I threw in the towel and went to the gym.
When she got home, I slipped the news into a conversation, fearful that she'd simply walk into one of the rooms I'd checked eleventy-seven times and find them. "Snowshoes?--how could you miss 'em?"
We looked together. No shoes. We actually grew to distrust our best friends. I sent e-mails to four couples--"By any chance did we loan you. . .?"
I looked again. And again. And again.
No shoes. Remember, they're huge. One doesn't just lose things that big.
Weeks passed. Another gorgeous snowfall blanketed the land out back, perfect for snowshoeing.
"It's time I really look," she told me earlier this week. "This makes no sense whatsoever. They've got to be here. How on earth can you lose things that big?"
No kidding. Don't think tennis rackets. Way bigger. Way, way, way bigger.The greater the tonnage, the bigger the shoe, after all. Think townships. How can you lose townships? How can you misplace the back forty?
Head full of steam, my wife descended the stairs once more, determined the end this madness. We'd alienated our friends with rash allegations about their stewardship of our property. We'd gone over storage rooms time and time again, but this search--she said--this one was going to be comprehensive.
In five minutes she came up hoisting a huge brown bag over her shoulder. Inside, voila! Our snowshoes.
For two weeks, I looked for that long tail and the straps hanging down from huge netted snowshoes, the image my imagination projected on the screen in my mind. That's what I saw; that's what I was looking for.
But they were in a bag. A huge bag to be sure, but a bag. I was not looking for a bag. I'd completely forgotten that just last spring I'd smartly put them in a canvas bag we had no other use for. Forgotten completely. "Completely" is a level of "forgotten" I seem to surpass almost weekly, registering new and fearful highs.
I'd looked everywhere time and time again, but I hadn't been looking for a huge brown bag.
Woe and woe and woe. I qualify for dunderhead-ship.
But at least I've got my snowshoes.
They're huge. Did I mention that? Think Paul Bunyan. You know it used to take four boys with a quarter hog a piece strapped to their snowshoes just to keep his pancake griddle greased?
Or did I tell you that?
Where were we again?
Posted by J. C. Schaap at 6:15 AM