Twenty-three Inches

Twenty three inches of nostalgia cover ground in simulacrum of past eras when it meant no school, no work, all play. Memories warm with that rush of blood to face from a snowball well placed. A red skin reaction, a discomfort eased by a white ball of retaliation. One full inch to account per year of one life, a full life, a life full of snowmen and snow dens and snowshoes. Of cocoa and cookies and all things that make one warm after a romp in the snow. Of the warm showers after cold hours shoveling as sweat drips from temple and breath freezes in air. The snowplow dumped piles large enough for highly fortified snow forts and the bushes collect piles good for walls to store the findings we foraged for in the snow drifts. Pounded packed walls of old snow where imagination ran free until the noses wouldn’t stop running and the cold touch of reality couldn’t be held at bay. Blanketed hills perfect for sledding save for the slushy creek that captured boots and left feet freezing. But on the bitter days the ice held not for skates, too narrow it ran, but for crawling along on belly on mysterious adventures.
Twenty three inches perfect for learning how to fall down a mountain with a board strapped to feet. Slick or sticky for bruising or strained muscles on account of being taught snowboarding after learning fear. Realizing some balance is better than before or off a board and skating over a foot from the rink’s wall. Walking through drifts in ballet flats, long wool coat, unmittened hands entwined. Life still full of snow days and cold days and let’s drink to weather days. New sledding hills, new sleds from garbage bag, lunch trays, and pizza boxes found. With sweet Baileys added to the snow cream and beers chilled by the snow. Cocoa always warms and chocolate chip cookies help to ease the pain of studying after hours in the cold, sometimes leading to movies and cuddling as before the advent of homework.
Twenty three inches of snow hold crunchy moonlight snowshoeing and lunch break sledding. Young adults and kids in costume in the woods as hours of early winter fall. Slick paths under bowing maple or tracking bobcat through white pine and hemlock. Bending birch hold cars in semblance of a giant claw without true grip. Ice coating cars to be scratched, melted off, teaching patience and perseverance. Saving the slipping vehicles from careening off roads and cheering our skill and luck we made it out of that one without a dent. Still building snowmen and throwing snowballs and sometimes digging out snowbanks for a very temporary shelter. Wishing for one more snow day before twenty three inches becomes just that: a hassle, a pain, a cold morning burden.

Creative Commons License
This work by Sarah Holmes is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported Licensem

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