I awoke the other morning to find a fresh blanket of snow on the ground. Not something we get to enjoy here often. I poured a cup of hot Brazilian coffee to fight off the morning cold and prepared myself to go outside. The wind chill factor was still well below freezing so I threw on my new fur and suede boots, my big winter coat, a hat, neck gaiter, gloves and liners and headed out to take puppy for her walk.
The kids in the neighborhood were playing in the snow. I could hear the echo of their high-pitched laughter as it bounced off the houses. I recognized the voice of my neighbor's five year old daughter as she screamed and then busted out into giggles. She was yelling indistinct instructions to dad, mom must have been inside with her new baby brother, a child they named Wolfgang. I do not know why. I'm thinking more likely Van Halen than Mozart.
As I trudged my way back up the hill towards the house I saw the damage that I had only heard in the early hours of the morning. Furrowed tiremarks buried deep in ice patches right in front of my driveway.
This is a regular sight for us when icy weather hits. We live in the middle of a double hill, where the first hill begins to flatten out, a place known to trap unsuspecting yard gnomes, past my driveway the second part of the hill ascends steeply. An area that accumulates runoff so that when people leave for work in the morning they hit what once was slush, but overnight has become a large peaked patch of ice. I hear them as I lay in bed in the quiet dark on wintery mornings, they hit the patch, tires spinning, then slide back down again. They rev their engines and hit the gas, hoping that momentum will eventually prevail and propel them past my patch of icy slush. It usually takes a few tries. As a neighborly gesture I keep salt in the garage and put some out, but this year the storm came so quickly that by the time I realized that I had run out, there wasn't any left in the stores, no sand either as the whole city braced itself for the worst.
The sun was trying to come out. The sky was changing from dark slate to cold steel grey. The wind, excruciating. I pulled my neck gaiter up higher on my face and my hat down further until all that was left of my face were my eyes. I pulled my parka hood down to block the wind from my eyes and hoped that puppy would guide us both home safely, but no. The snow and the kids playing proved too much for her. She rolled around, kicked up snow and barked, trying to get their attention. Normally they would have run right over to play with her, but not today. Today all either of us would get would be shouts of hello and waves from little gloved hands.
I stopped at the mailbox at the end of the drive. There was a package that I was expecting, it was overdue enough to cause me concern, but not concern enough to drag myself out in the freezing cold after work to look for it. I opened the box and bent down to look inside. There it was. Finally. That had to be it. A manila folder just the perfect size for a book. I reached my hand in and grabbed it, the feeling of excitement growing. This should be the review book I had been waiting for. Web of Deceit by Darlene Cox. I've been dying to read it.
I started to open the package and that's when I felt it. Or rather, heard it. I'm really not sure which. It was a small noise that seemed to have some percussion. A thud in the back of my head. It was familiar, awash in nostalgia, yet it took me a moment to realize what it was. I had been hit with a snowball. I couldn't help but giggle. I haven't been popped by a snowball in years.
I turned to see who had assaulted me and in the middle of the street stood one of my neighbors. Bundled in a big, puffy snow parka, a scarf and a balaclava all I could see was the smile on his face. He laughed out loud and waved a big gloved hand at me. I laughed and waved back. I still have no idea which neighbor it was. But it made my day.
I took puppy back inside and opened my package to see that inside was indeed the book I had been anticipating. And there was a note from the author inside. I really nice note. She had taken the time to write a small apology for the delay and a really sweet little letter. She included her email and phone number so we can keep in touch-- Like a note from an old friend. I was half tempted to pick up the phone and call her to tell her We Got Snow!!!
Instead I tucked the book and letter away in my book bag and snuggled up on the couch with puppy to watch one of my all time favorite movies, Enchanted April
I prefer winter and fall,
when you feel the bone structure of the landscape -
the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter.
Something waits beneath it,
the whole story doesn't show.
~~ Andrew Wyeth
My Three Must - Haves to survive the Winter Weather
Women's Suede And Fur Boot
Traditional Balaclava (various colors)
Currently Reading: Web of Deceit by Darlene Cox
Look for the review on blogcritics http://blogcritics.org/writers/a-geek-girl/