I tried to ignore the presence of those staring eyes and alert ears boring into me as I typed on my computer.
She did this every day. She didn’t bark. She didn’t whine. She didn’t scratch at the door or pace.
No. She just stared.
When she wanted something she would find me, sit, and stare. In true Japanese horror movie fashion I wouldn’t always hear her approach over the carpet. I would be submerged in whatever work I was focused on and suddenly realize there were a pair of dark, brown eyes watching me.
I could try to ignore them, but somehow that patient silence made it worse than any obnoxious bugging could have been. I could yell at an annoying dog. But a polite, patient one? No, I knew what she wanted.
It began with a “W”.
The whirlwind of her tail fluffed through the air when I stood and began bundling up for our daily ritual. As soon as the door opened a black streak tore past me. I was much less enthusiastic as I stepped out into the cold, cowering within the warmth of my beloved cheap robe and old moccasins. I could feel the stinging bite of the air try to gnaw through my layers as I pulled them close and followed the familiar path.
Browning grass fainted into the cold dirt leaving only memories of lush summer fields beneath the cooling shade of welcoming trees. Instead, these same trees hung tired in a lifeless mess of dead limbs and bare branches. Heavy clouds hung low overhead, their oppressive weight masking the morning light in a solid cast of dull grey.
All around me, the world felt dead. There was no movement. No cars. No people. Not even a stray squirrel rushing from cold branches to hidden stashes of nuts. For a moment, I felt like the only living being walking through a world of corpses.
I heard a thunder of paws as Chloe, grin stretched over her face, tail held high, came barreling past me. She did not seem to share my feelings as she darted from tree to bush, her nose tracing the ground as she hunted the scents of those who had passed before her. With a small smile and a sigh I continued to follow our path as my mind wandered to items in my fridge that could pass for breakfast.
We walked about a mile before I decided my stomach could take no further delay. As we retraced our steps, the world seemed to darken around us. The shifting grey light somehow faded to deep shadows. I dimly wondered if this was what the world might look like before passing out. Somehow, even the dominating light of the sun was not strong enough to penetrate the pregnant clouds that threatened above. A new deafening silence surrounded us. It felt as if the world was holding its last breath before winter.
I pulled my robe tighter and quickened my pace, eager to be home.
A sudden flit of color caught my eye. The vibrant red of a cardinal splashed his color within the tangled brown of barren underbrush and vines. Unfazed by the darkness, he broke the still air with a lilting chirp of his song. I heard an answer to his call followed by the rustling of wings. Another cardinal, more subtle in her beauty, swayed with the movement of a curving branch of vines. The two lovers sang to each other in defiance to the darkness and silence that surrounded them.
I looked up and felt something icy brush past my skin. Another fluff of tiny white landed on my cheek, its ice melting against the warmth of my skin.
The first snowfall.
The puffs of snow fell hesitantly at first, individually striking out from their strange world in the clouds down to the dead earth below. Alone, they vanished in the dying brown. But soon the air was filled with a static silence, drawing in close as they filled the empty air with their soft beauty. What was once barren and dead came to life as the gentle cascade of snow hushed down around me. Winter seemed to take a deep, icy breath before breathing magic into the dull dead tangle of trees around me.
A joy filled me and my spirits soared with the twirling of white. I felt as if I could have danced in the swirling snow as memories of digging out igloos in mountains of plowed snow and chasing growing globes of white through the front yard with plots to build the perfect snowman returned.
I felt that same presence beside me and looked down at my furry companion through billowing white puffs of breath. Chloe, hailing from the tropical island of Okinawa where snow is but a rumor and the cold of winter comes at a blistering 50 degrees, sat at my feet, those deep brown eyes begging me to make it stop. It seemed she wasn’t enjoying the strange new precipitation as much as I was. She cast quick glances around her, keeping close to my stride, her tail lowered behind her.
As I stepped beneath the overhang of our apartments stomping my moccasins and brushing snow off of my rope, she cast an impatient glance back to me and then returned to her determined stare down with the door. I think if she had any psychokinetic abilities I would be in serious trouble. As soon as the door was unlocked and opened she darted inside, stopped by some books and the couch, and shook off as if she had been caught in a heavy downpour.
I couldn’t help but laugh at my poor tropical princess as I opened the blinds up to the world of white outside. I stood at the sliding glass door, a mug of steaming hot cocoa warming my hands, watching the world transform into a snow globe as I hid within the warm cave of my home.
I know for many it has been a long time since we haven’t looked at snow and cursed it, wondering how many inches we’ll be shoveling, but think back to your fonder memories.
What are some of your favorite memories that come with snow?
Thanks for reading and feel free to share some stories below!