A New England mailbox covered in snowwinter

Finding my mailbox in the snow, a tribute to Edgar Allen Poe

I grew up in the South and was ten years old before I saw my first snowflake. It was on a “trip north” to Tennessee and was the best thing I’d ever seen. I never took well to Mississippi, but they took even less well to me. After graduating from college I moved to Massachusetts and came to love the seasonal routine of tending the fire, short periods of daylight, long nights for reading, and shoveling a lot of snow.

Edgar Allen Poe, a Boston native, was born on January 19, 1809, exactly 210 years ago as I update this post. He wrote that “we are all in denial of a radical, primitive, irreducible sentiment, the Imp of the Perverse. We stand upon the brink of a precipice. We peer into the abyss. Our first impulse is to shrink from the danger. Unaccountably we remain.”

And I thought the mailbox was bad

The Great Snow of 2011

The winter of 2011 received the most snow in recent memory here in Ipswich, at least since the Blizzard of ’78. We hadn’t see a flake until a couple of days before Christmas, but January made up for it quickly. As I stared at yet another foot of snow in my driveway, I fully understood Poe’s sentiment. I started the snowblower and a couple of hours later the driveway was cleared. I enjoyed carving clean straight lines in the snow, anticipating the next blizzard that would help me reach my perverse goal of burying the eight-foot light post in the yard.

I turned to the seemingly impossible task of excavating our buried mail box just as the town plow graciously delivered another pile at the end of my driveway. I wondered if he enjoys redoing that which I have just undone. The weatherman was predicting another Nor’easter the next week and I inexplicably hoped it would be a big one. The Imp of the Perverse and I are best buddies.

Snow in Ipswich MA, February 21, 2015

Our house on Mill Road, February 21, 2015

The Great Snow of 2015

Four years later, the first half of winter was again almost snowless until the blizzard of January 27, 2015 which delivered 29″ of snow. A series of snowstorms followed, bringing the total for the season to over 100 inches. The snow eventually covered most of our windows, and I spent several days shoveling snow off the roof to prevent it from collapsing.

Digging snow off the roof in February 2015

The author clearing his roof, February 10, 2015

The town plow pushed so much snow against my mailbox that the post broke in half. It’s still bolted together from my emergency repairs after I spent an hour digging it out.


The mailbox, February 2015

Now it’s the middle of January, 2019, and we haven’t seen a flake of snow since November, but a big storm is on its way. Edgar Allen Poe would be very happy.

Photos from the Great Snow of 2015


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