Perhaps, in life, the first step is always the hardest step. Or perhaps it's true only at the log house, where the first step off the front porch leads onto a beautiful stone stoop unearthed from our land, positioned just so by an artist with a backhoe. The flat-topped rock serves as the head of a procession of stones winding down the center of our gravel path to the driveway, a warm invitation to our home.
Except in the winter, when water dripping from the gutter freezes on the cold stone, transforming that rock into a treacherous, ice-coated plateau, requiring red shoes just to get on or off the porch.
And so, the mat.
Not a thing of beauty, but this Heatrak heated carpet mat kicks off just enough warmth to melt the icy drips and radiate heat into the stone stoop. Made for outdoor use and designed to stay plugged in all season, the mat I bought cost right around $100 (a couple of years ago), and has been worth every penny.
No matter how much snow and ice lies ahead, the mat makes that first step easier. And, even in winter, the stoop, clear of ice and snow, beckons visitors to our home.
That drippy gutter doesn't scare me anymore.