Because I was home when they did their work, I watched as the avalanche of snow and ice pelted down upon the sidewalk beneath the eaves, nearly snowing me in, this time from a man-made job. I watched as they came through with the snowblower, chopping up the compact, heavy snow in the subzero temps, leaving a thin layer that couldn't be gobbled up by the blades.
Yesterday was "warm", though, and even this morning before I left for work I heard water dripping from above. It doesn't take much sunlight light to melt what is left above, but I didn't think to lay down any salt, certain it was going to be too cloudy today, and thinking there really wasn't enough snow to create much ice.
Well...I was wrong. In the evening when I came home, I entered through the garage as usual, grabbed my dog's leash and set out through the front door to take her on a walk.
As I opened the door, I saw the rock salt littering the sidewalk and even my doormat. The sight gave me pause; taking in our surroundings, I saw that the snow mound was coated with a glowing sheen of frozen water. There were slices of ice like broken glass sticking up along the sides, clearly the work of an industrious shoveler utilizing the salt to help him break down the luge course that our sidewalk had turned into during the daytime hours.
Carefully I stepped out and walked past my neighbor's door, knowing this was HIS work and not the work of the roofing company or the Association. They would do the big stuff, but it was up to we homeowners to make sure we didn't get sued should someone slip. It's not the first time my neighbor has salted our adjoined walks, and I know this also won't be the last.
My neighbor doesn't think in legal terms. His actions are according to Christ; he just does what he knows is right. The salt he buys is pet-safe salt, simply because he's a pet-owner too, and even if he wasn't he cares about his neighbor's pets who must walk on the stuff.
He wasn't out, but I will remember to thank him, and hopefully, return the favor should the situation present itself.
In November, I think it was, we had an ice storm and although I was supposed to be at work early that Sunday and attend Mass there, I heeded the advice of the Minnesota State Patrol to delay any travel until at least 10 am. The Mass readings that day were quite pertinent for they spoke of the faithful as the "salt of the earth".
As I left the Church to attempt a venture into work, Father was standing at the exit door. When his eyes lit upon me he quipped, "You are the salt of the earth...now go out and salt the roads!"
Although I couldn't carry out that particular task that day, I was grateful for those who could and DID, and today, I wonder if perhaps my own neighbor heard that admonition and simply decided to carry it out on his own!
Mother Teresa has famously said that we should know our own neighbors. Catholic Social Teaching, lately through the voice of Pope Benedict XVI, reminds us of the same thing: we should have care and concern for our neighbor. To do good, we don't have to travel the world, but simply look next door and respond to the needs of those around us, no matter how simple.
How much better off would we all be if we could follow that simple adage whenever possible?