YORK — The white mountain seemed to reach the sky. The snow was packed tight with pale blue facets in the crevices, and the wind whipped a fine spray from the summit like Everest.

I was absolutely awestruck by its size and beauty – and I wished like hell it wasn’t in the middle of my driveway.

The day after our first major snowstorm began with me trying to open my garage door. It took about half an hour, in subzero temperatures, of chipping away at the ice between the bottom of the door and the pavement that had sealed it shut.

When the door finally opened to reveal the spectacular winter vista before me, my first thought was how beautiful it all was.

It was like that scene in “The Wizard of Oz” when Dorothy’s world turns from black and white to color – except in reverse. The world had been transformed into a glittering white wonderland.

After a few minutes standing there admiring the view of nature in all its splendor, I decided I’d better start my snowblower. Like my garage doors, it wouldn’t budge. It was frozen solid to the garage floor. It took me a good 10 minutes heaving it this way and that before I was able to budge it and drag it over to the open doorway.

Then it wouldn’t start.

When you’re shoveling snow, a snowblower seems like a great idea until you spend $1,800 on one and discover the dirty little secret about snowblowers – that you expend about the same amount of energy getting them to start as you would shoveling 20 feet of driveway.

Another 10 minutes passed with me yanking on the cord trying to get it to start. I began with a few earnest prayers and sweet encouragement to the machine and descended rapidly into abuse and threats.

Finally, it coughed loudly into action. I was so excited I shoved it out into the snowy wilderness and began throwing a huge white plume of snow over my head.

Unfortunately, the torrent of snow poured deep into my garage. I grabbed the chute to point it in another direction, and it blasted freezing snow right into my face. I opened my mouth to scream and inhaled a couple of pounds of snow before snapping my mouth shut.

At last the machine began going in the direction I wanted, clearing a nice, neat white path through the 3 feet of snow in my driveway. It did a good job – until it reached the barricade at the end of my driveway that the town snowplow had left for me.

The snowplow had shoved about 50 feet of accumulated snow on my half of the road into the entrance of my driveway, creating a wall about 5 feet high and 20 feet thick. The machine took one bite at it and stalled.

It took me another 10 minutes to coax it into starting again, and I think I heard it sob when I pushed it back into Mount Fabiano.

Back and forth I pushed it, a few inches at a time, firing a high arc of snow over my head and moving forward about an inch at a time.

As I inched forward, the wind picked up and began blowing snow back into the path I had cleared until I disappeared in the middle of a blizzard that deposited more snow behind me and on top of me than I was able to clear.

At last I broke through and gave the kind of manly cheer that makes women shake their heads at how little it takes to make us happy, and turned back up my driveway to begin widening my breakthrough.

Then, I heard a distant rumble. I paused and the rumble grew to a crescendo, then it turned the corner and I saw the amber flashing light of the town plow as it began another sweep up my road. In a microsecond, my snowblower and I were engulfed in a tidal wave of snow. I spat snow from my mouth, waved my arms and yelled “Avalaaaanche!” at the top of my lungs.

I began digging upward in my silent, snowy tomb and, after a few minutes, broke through into daylight.

I then clawed my way, one hand at a time, out of the newly formed snowbank, trudged back up to my garage and retrieved the snow shovel to dig out my snowblower.

After about half an hour, I had it clear and pulled it out into the street so I could begin cleaning snow out of all its vital organs, promising it all the while that I would never insult it again, change its oil regularly and only fill it with premium gasoline from now on.

It took me a good two hours to clear enough snow from my driveway to get just one of our cars out of the garage.

Under the thick coating of snow that clung to my outer clothing from head to toe, I was drenched in sweat. I felt like a worm in a cocoon hoping to once again develop into a human being. At one point my wife opened the door from the house into the garage, looked at me, laughed and then closed the door again. But I had finally freed my family and myself from one of the first big storms of winter.