I keep looking out the windows, hoping to see those first, tiny, floating flakes that dance on the air, preceding the real snowfall, the one that sticks to the ground and the tree branches and coats parked cars in strangely cozy-looking, thick white blankets.
My visitor, Snow, was supposed to be here Friday night. But he didn’t show up. Instead, Rain and Wind swept through, staying only long enough to wake me several times, rattling the window over my bed as they danced around the house and left their calling cards in the form of dampened walkways and new drifts of wet, dead leaves underfoot.
Cold came Friday night, too. Unlike Wind and Rain, who moved on, she settled in, preparing to embrace her lover, Snow. Now she’s everywhere. When I go into the kitchen, away from the glowing woodstove, Cold whispers around my calves and raises prickling goosebumps on my lower back. She’s waiting, too, as impatient as I.
Because Snow is coming, I’m hesitant to leave the house. I don’t want to be away when he arrives, because though I love him, he can be a difficult guest. Snow brings me gifts, among them a deep quiet. When Snow comes, the highway a quarter-mile down the mountain goes totally silent for a while. My neighbors – the fellow with the noisy leaf-blower and motored, unmuffled go-cart; the shrieking children; the old man with the diesel truck that he insists on warming up for 20 minutes every morning, summer, spring, fall and winter – all retreat into their houses and stay near their hearthfires, like I do. The birds go invisible, huddling in the laurel hedge and high in the evergreens, sheltering until Snow moves on. When I venture out, bundled in my thick coat, my cap on my head and my achy hands protected by gloves, his stillness is weighty. He makes me hear my own heartbeat, makes me aware of my breath in my lungs, and how fragile my life is, really.
Yesterday, Snow sent his emissary, Frost. He mimicked Snow for an hour or so and moved on up the mountain, leaving a thin rime of icy, powdered sugar in his wake. Snow sent him to tease me, I know.
And so I wait.