The First Snow

The recent snowy siege and my distance from it, has me fondly recalling memories of frostier days. This chronicle of a winter day happened in middle childhood, in the days of fancy and wild imagination:

We were three sisters, bedecked in bonnets, long skirts, and shawls from our “dress up” stash. Armed with our own resourceful minds, we three “Civil War nurses” ambled through the field behind our home, weaving through the newly cut stalks of corn. As we discussed the political issues of our imagined day and age, we approached the end of the field and arrived at the grove of trees beyond. We crossed into the woods, were abruptly affronted by thundering gunfire, and concluded in a matter of seconds that we had meandered onto  a battlefield. Instantly, we vaulted behind a fallen tree and our chatter became deathly silenced. The gunshots continued, followed now and then by some shouts. “WHOOO! I hit another one of those bad girls!” shouted the voices. Slowly our play fear melted into real, irrational fear and the nurses were unable to uncouple fantasy from reality. I had alighted on the lap of our middle sister, and the longer we lingered, the more her legs grew numb adding to our terror of how we should depart this tragic situation of snipers aiming to shoot bad girls. After a moment of summoning bravery, our eldest sister breathed to us that our only hope would be to dart for the cornfield. Quietly she counted, “One, two, three!” We rose and sprinted with a speed of young gazelles escaping lion huntresses. So many years yet to live! We must make it out of the trees! We reached the cornfield and each stride that toted us away from the shooters pumped adrenaline and wild exhilaration into our blood. We would make it! Freedom! Life goes on! We collapsed in a pile of relieved laughter, meeting our neighbor boys in the back lawn. They viewed us with bewilderment. They could not understand the euphoria of a close call, the elation of liberation! Gently around us, soft fluff began to drift from the sky. Then, it represented the fresh slate of a newly valued life. Now, looking back, it represents the wonder of fantasy, how a men’s target practice in the trees could be converted into an antiquated battlefield and a precarious deliverance. It was the first snow of the year I turned eight.

 

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