Spring Snow – Warm up Exercise

Photo credit: Jyrki Salmi via Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-SA

The calendar said it was spring. Winter didn’t agree. Spring break found Paloma at her parent’s farm helping with the lambing. It was a busy time at the farm and they appreciated the extra help.

She stayed later than common sense allowed, but she couldn’t leave the last lambing ewe. Five years ago, Dad let her pick a lamb to raise for her 4H project. After assessing each new lamb on the farm, she had chosen one and named her Juju. Juju won blue ribbons for Paloma and she considered it her duty to make sure she lived. Two big boys fought to win the title of firstborn followed by their smaller, meeker sister.

Dad looked at the sky and reminded Paloma the forecast predicted snow. She glanced back at the pen to see the boys now fighting for a place at their mother’s utter and laughed. Mom had packed her car for the trip. She told Paloma of the care package stashed in a box on the back seat as she hugged her goodbye.

The storm hit Paloma an hour into the drive back to school along a lonely patch of road that snaked through hills and forest. The voice on the radio informed her the storm was developing into a blizzard. She leaned forward over the steering wheel searching for signs of the road she knew lay under her wheels, at least for the moment. White flakes danced in the headlights, obscuring what lay ahead. Patches of the road flickered in and out of sight as the wind buffeted the front end of the car threatening to run her off a road she no longer trusted. The guardrail guided her around a curve and warned her of the steep drop off on the other side.

“This is crazy. I’m going to end up dead,” Paloma thought as another blast shook the car and she felt tires spinning on ice. She took her foot off the gas pedal allowing the tires to regain their grip on the road. The guardrail ran out as the car slowed. Paloma recalled a section not far ahead where the land was level and the shoulder widened. She braked, pulled the car off the road and slid the gear selector to park. She collapsed across the steering wheel, her hands shaking.

The storm roared around her, but for now she was safe and warm. Thanks to Mom, there was plenty of food and a warm blanket in the back seat. She checked her cell phone. As expected, there was no signal here. The radio worked, and she settled in to wait out the storm. She searched for headlights, a sign of life. There was nothing.

She woke with a start. No sound, even the radio was silent. A weak light kissed the tops of sugar-coated trees turning the landscape into a confectioner’s paradise. She shivered in the cold. Paloma tried to start the car, the battery cranked, but didn’t have the amps to start the motor. She sighed and considered her options. Still no cell service. There was a town several miles up the road, but it would be a long walk. Paloma grabbed a bag from the back and filled it with supplies for her early morning walk.

An hour into her trek her entire body shivered, too cold. The wind pummeled her every step, threatening to take her breath away. So far, she was the only living thing along the road. In the distance, she saw an old, weathered building. It had seen better days. She stopped realizing other tracks already lead to the building. She needed shelter and a fire before she went any further. Not knowing if the tracks were animal or human, she moved forward. Committing herself to whatever lay ahead.

______________________

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Snow Day

Photo assist by Jo

Photo assist by Jo

Jill had been waiting in anticipation for this day. She hoped for it every year, but so often it never seemed to materialize. Things like work and grown-up responsibilities would get in the way. But this year it looked like it might happen. She had checked and rechecked the forecast. She worked longer than she had intended to make sure all those grown-up things that needed doing were done and prayed like she had when she was a schoolgirl, “Please let it snow tomorrow.”

This year looked like it would be extra special. This was to be the first snow of the season. Watching the weatherman predict four to six inches made her giddy with anticipation. She never quite figured out why adults were exempt from snow days. Of course, there were still days when the schools were closed, but why were adults expected to fight their way through sloshy, unplowed streets and risk icy roads for the sake of work? She checked the night sky once more before heading off to bed.

Photo credit: trikelef via Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC

Photo credit: trikelef via Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC

Something woke her. The clock by the bed read three a.m. She slid from under the covers to peer out the window. In the glow of the streetlight she could see a gentle fall of snow. She watched as it floated to the ground and disappeared on the sidewalk, leaving a tiny spot of moisture where it landed. Smiling, she shivered in the cold. She watched for a few more minutes before the cold sent her diving back into the warm bed to dream of snow.

It was much later when she woke again and raced to the window to see if it was still snowing. While the streets and the sidewalks were mostly wet, the grass was covered in fluffy white snow. Great chunks that looked that cotton balls were now tumbling from the lead gray sky. She checked her phone. “Snow for at least one hundred twenty minutes” she read.

The rest of the day turned out exactly as she had hoped. Breakfast was a big meal with plenty of hot coffee to sip, instead of the normal grab and run so you won’t be late kind. Later, reading in a chair by the window she surrendered to the urge to draw a happy face on the frosted pane. That afternoon she baked cookies and made up a mug of hot chocolate. Still the snow fell. Every time she checked her phone the message read, “Snow for at least one hundred twenty minutes”.

Photo credit: I am a Pear via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-SA

Photo credit: I am a Pear via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-SA

The day turned into night before the snow stopped. Seven and a half inches was being reported as she bundled into her winter coat, scarf and gloves to shovel the driveway. Outside the world was quiet, truly a silent night. Her shovel dug into the white confection covering the sidewalk she knew lay below. The scrape of the shovel bit into the night air, as she pushed it deeper into the snow. This was one of her favorite parts. Pushing the snow off to the edge of driveway, then digging in to fling a heaping load of snow into the grass, she smiled.

A crescent moon hung low on the horizon casting a surreal light on the heavy, wet snow that clung desperately to the bare tree branches. Unable to maintain its grip on the tree across the street, the snow fell like sifted flour to the street below. With the driveway cleared, she paused for a moment to admire the beauty that surrounded her. For the moment, she was alone in world, free of grown-up responsibilities, free to savor that one moment.

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer