Carla’s Snow Day

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I have been working on a novel off and on over the past few years.  More off than on, truth be told.  Below is an excerpt that may or may not make it into the book.  I’m posting it now because I am watching the snow fall outside of my office window, and it reminded me of this passage and of a snowy New England winter:

Carla heard the wind pushing snow against her window and knew there was a storm raging even before she opened her eyes.

One of the miseries that New Englander’s enjoy most is lambasting meteorologists for their inability to predict snow accumulation with accuracy.

Carla wasn’t sure if the “Breaking News” reports that interrupted television programs and weather update scrolls running across the bottom of the screens were because the weather pattern really was that fickle, or if the weather people just wanted to cover all their bases.

So she wasn’t really surprised when she pushed her hair out of her face and opened her eyes to see snow flying sideways and oak branches twisting and falling to the ground.

“Ugh!” she groaned, “it looks like they got this one right.”

Carla got out of bed before sunrise, slipped her feet into her Dearform slippers, and threw a sweatshirt over the t-shirt and flannel pajama bottoms she slept in. She shuffled along in the dark and when she got downstairs she was happy to see the amber glow still shining in the coal stove.

“At least if we lose electricity, I’ll still have heat,” she thought, and imagined herself a pioneer as she tended to the stove, filling the hopper with coal, shaking it down and emptying the ashes into a tin bucket on the deck outside.

The snow was almost as dense as rain, and it hurt her skin when it blew into her face. She didn’t even have to pick up a shovel to know that this was a heavy snow. Not like the fluff that fell a couple of days ago that she simply swept off the deck with a broom.

“I know why Eskimos have over 100 words for ‘snow,’ she thought, “I wonder what their word for this crap would be?”

Her pioneer duties behind her, Carla made herself a cup of coffee and sat in front of the coal stove, wrapped in her favorite blanket. Without turning on a light she stared out the window.

As much as she wanted to complain about the weather, she had to admit that the snow came with a quiet that silenced the usual noise of life. She couldn’t even hear the tractor trailer trucks that usually barreled down the road this time of day. As a matter of fact, there was no traffic that Carla could hear or see at all. There was the sound of the wind and the snow, and the coal stove crackling every once in a while. The only other sound was her own steady breathing.

Carla watched the snow, sipped her coffee and thought that while she disliked winter, even dreaded its impending arrival as soon as the days started getting shorter on June 22nd, she had to give winter the respect it deserved for the quiet peacefulness of a day like today.

But the rest of it; the bitter cold, the long dark days, she more than “disliked” and counted the hours and days until it was over.

Carla’s mind began to drift to winters past. When her mind drifted to one winter in particular, she smiled at the the irony; that in the season that she despises because of its cold and dark, the most joyful, warm, and bright time of her life was in the winter. One winter. One season.

Thinking back on that winter now, it’s not the cold and the dark that she remembers. It’s how warm Brock kept her. How bright the world was when she was with him.

When the snow fell, they laughed. When the cold wind whipped, he held her close and kept her warm. When the dark came, he looked into her eyes and all she saw was the light that was him.

So, when Carla says that she hates winter, she silently excludes that one winter. That one season. That one moment that, when she lost herself, he was there to find her.

One winter. One season. One lifetime….ago…”

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