Her eyes traced the path of the snowflake through the frosted glass door. Downward yet weightless, it descended from the overcast sky until the branch of the small tree in the front yard interrupted its journey. Without protest, it took its place in the accumulation, as if it knew it were meant to do so.
Snow is a funny thing–each individual flake seems so insignificant, but together is so powerful. Destined to be made into snowmen or thrown at little brothers, or even willing to get pushed around for the sake of a snow angel.
How nice it must be to be part of something bigger than you. How nice it must be to belong.
Snapping her thoughts back to reality, she saw her neighbor outside attempting to shovel, completely bundled except for his eyes which, even from a distance, gave away his unhappiness with the weather. The snow was relentless, so he finally gave up and went back inside, defeated.
“It’s February in New York, what can you expect?” She mused rhetorically to the dog at her feet. He, too, was silently protesting the snowstorm by remaining an immobile ball of fur on the floor. He didn’t so much as lift his little chin off the carpet.
“Come on, be happy, it’s beautiful!” she nagged–to whom, I’m not really sure.
She even surprised herself with this newfound positive disposition. She was still getting used to being happy.
If this were last year, she would have welcomed the excuse to close the blinds and post up in bed for the day. She would have joined her neighbor and her dog in dismay for the snow–wet and dirty, inconvenient, altogether unwelcome. So what changed? The temperature was still frigid, she still would have to spend hours digging her car out of the snow just to sit in an extra hour of traffic to make it to work tomorrow. Nothing about the winter in New York had changed.
But she had. Or should she say, he changed her.
Maybe it wasn’t that she hated the snow and the winter. Maybe it was that she related to it all too well. If she were weather she’d be a snowstorm: cold, dark, impossible to navigate through. She remembers like it was yesterday the day the first snowflake fell within her, the day he walked out of her life and left behind a trail of ice.
She thought spring would never come. People tried to shovel and scrape and push through the drifts, but inevitably they would just cause an avalanche. Like a snowball, if you held on to her for too long, you’d be left with frostbite.
But today, she makes two cups of tea and sits down on her couch. Curling up, she lays her head on his shoulder. She has found her something bigger. She has found where she belonged. She has her sunshine.
She opens her journal, and writes…
But, this winter’s not quite as cold…
Frost still glistens on windshields and lawns in the predawn stillness. Breath still dances in clouds from mouths meeting at train platforms and bus stops. Scarves hug necks, gloves hold hands, boots trudge the ground more heavily than their summer counterparts. Water still freezes, cold & impenetrable, stubborn but cracked–like I used to be.
But now I hold within me a perpetual spring.
This winter’s not quite as cold.