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Snow (In which the protagonist learns important things.)


Last night’s snow storm is gone and replaced by crisp air and plump clouds in a pastel blue sky. Unusual for the high desert of Reno, there is about a foot of snow coating my road, driveway and garden. It’s time to break out the snow shovel! First, though, I’ll get my camera and try and capture a few images of the winter wonderland before it melts (probably by tomorrow).


Years ago, I moved to Pocatello, Idaho for graduate school. Being from the Central Valley of California, I was astonished and impressed the first time it snowed. Overnight the world had changed from desert in shades of brown to a glittering monochrome world of white snow and shadow! I bounced excitedly from window to window and then wrapped up my camera to get pictures of my new world while I walked to campus. I bundled up in my new snow boots and heavy coat, a warm hat and gloves, slung my backpack over my shoulders and prepared to march away.

My initial perception of snow (soft glittering fluff) lasted down to the bottom of my driveway. I stepped onto the roadway of my isolated little street; despite the few houses, the road was already a packed mass of snow-turned-to-ice. My unwary stomp flung me into space only to crash with a “oof!” and the muffled sound of jacket compressing on the side of the road.

Slightly stunned, and now nose to nose with my new friend the snow, I tried to breathe and consider my options. Wiggling onto my hands and knees worked, until I tried to gather my feet. Then, down again I went with another poof of escaping air. Winded now, and baffled by my lack of friction I lay still a moment feeling the cold seep into my jeans at the gap between boots and coat. I was still thinking when I noticed the crunching and snapping of ice: a car was driving up the road behind me!

A car! And I am lying in the road. I tried to scramble up and went down again with a bone jarring splat. Frantic not to be crushed by one of my neighbors (who thus far had proven to be nice people) I flailed my arms and legs, only sending myself farther into the street. Ungainly, I tried to at least get onto my back: maybe I could roll out of the way of the oncoming car? But, I had forgotten about my book laden backpack and had as much success as a barrel rolling tortoise. Finally, winded, bruised and once again splayed out like a bug, I lay still, waiting for the crunch that would herald my untimely demise.

Silence filled the street. I could hear the soft whisper of the wind through the brush. I wondered where the car was. In my current orientation I could see down to the entire valley and the ice covered mountains beyond, but not behind me to the approaching car.

Then, there was a whine as a car window rolled down. “Gina?” My next door neighbor’s voice filtered down from blue sky. “Would you like a ride to down to the school?”


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