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February 21, 2005
Late winter snow is heavy than midwinter snow: it is more full of water. It clumps on the plants and the tree branches like scoops of ice cream.

And it is heavier to shovel, a fact that inspires my seven-thousandth attempt to persuade Q to hire someone to do the driveway and the sidewalk out front. Neither of us feels well this morning -- he hurt his leg last week and has a chest cold, and I have a chest cold, too. I point out these things to him, but -- perhaps because I'm just too tired -- I don't put as much energy into the argument as I usually do. I don't, for instance, bring up the many men who die shoveling snow. I don't say anything scornful about WASP machismo. The talk is gentler than any of the fights we've had about snow shoveling in all these years. It is not settled when we finish talking.

But when he comes in from clearing the front and back steps and feeding the birds, he tells me that he hailed the neighbor boy and his snowblower and engaged him for the public walk and the driveway. Five bucks, five minutes and it's clear.

All those arguments. All my worry and anger. Finished in five bucks and five minutes.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Sharon announced the closing of several settlements in Gaza. After all the arguments about them, all these years, all that pain, all that anger, all the killings. There will be a political cost to him at home -- a big one -- but peace can never come there without this step. And the Israelis also announced that they will stop bulldozing the homes of suicide bombers' families, a practice that is at least twenty years old. They said what so many have said: it didn't seem to be helping end the bombings. Just like that. After all these years.

So things can change. People can come together and do something other than what they've always done. We can change our minds.

What tips the balance? When is enough finally enough? What makes you decide to do something else, now, after all these years. It's different for each person, certainly -- that's why we argue about things: we don't see things the same way. But we can come to see them, and we can change our minds and do something else.
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