Archives for posts with tag: snow

Storytime again, methinks 🙂

—~

The air was so wet you could squeeze it like a sponge. Steam curled in tendrils off of the great fan-like leaves at eye level and all around there was a vague greenish fog, tinted by the thick vegetation in all directions, including up and down. There was a steady drip, drip coming from one of the nearest of the great leaves, as sparkling beads of water rolled gently down the leaf’s great spine and splashed on the green mattress below. Everything was covered in a layer of beading sweat that wouldn’t evaporate. All was green, except for tiny splashes of red, or orange, where occasionally a strange flower would lift its delicate head and seek companionship, flirting outrageously with neighboring plants and insects.

The jungle was not a quiet place. Monkeys, and probably other things, sent their keening calls through the shadowy lattice of trees. Wet echoes of dripping water jumped lightly from leaf to vine to fern, and it was impossible to move without swishing a steaming waterfall from at least five neighboring plants. Frogs and insects sang their constant, buzzing songs, and strange birds commented sweetly from their secret hiding places. Even in a quiet moment, you could hear, in the distance, the telltale rumble of an approaching thunderstorm. But no rain could alleviate this soaking, sweating heat.

Jules smiled, his teeth melting like sugar, and spread out his arms, absorbing as many degrees Fahrenheit as his skinny limbs would allow. He took a few steps to humbly approach a beautiful hibiscus-looking flower and bowed to it, caressing its petals. He held a giant leaf to his lips and tilted it, so that the crystalline water came streaming into his mouth like a sweet tea. Then he wiped his face on the leaf, and there was no damage to the thick layer of sweat that anointed his features. Jules smiled again, closing his eyes, listening to the sounds, and feeling the air moving in slow, sopping currents against his skin…

‘Jules, we are here!’ his mother’s voice wafted from the front of the carriage just as the sound of the horse’s hoofs stopped. Jules suddenly sat up straight. He had been facing out the window, but hadn’t noticed that they had arrived at the great grey mansion.

His mother turned in her seat. ‘Just look at you, Jules!’ she cried at the sight of Jules’s winter coat, hanging unbuttoned and half off. She set about furiously trying to fix it over the back of her seat, clucking things like, ‘You’ll catch your death in this cold, wearing your coat like that!’ and ‘Wrap your scarf around your neck, boy, do you want to freeze?’ and Jules could only let his mother fuss and scold until she was done.

As they dismounted the carriage, Jules drew his scarf up tighter, as cold gusts of wind rushed snow into his face. Now was the time for visiting with Grandma; Jules ached for when the visit was over and he could return to the warm, wonderful tropics…

Advertisements

No, this isn’t old material, I just kind of miss winter. 😛

—~

 

We lingered at the table, long after everyone else had left, the light beginning to stutter and dim slowly as the candles went out one by one, and no one bothered to turn on the light. We sat in a silence that mirrored that of the snow that was beginning to float dreamily outside the misty windows. We preferred it that way. There was nothing to say, and therefore no need to talk, it was quite simple; and so we sat contentedly with our chins in our hands and our elbows on the table, eyes resting on the little flames. The festivities had migrated to the living room, producing a mellow roar that made no distinction between laughter and the popping of the logs in the fireplace. Ourselves, we made no distinction between the mellow roar, the little dancing flames, and our thoughts, which swirled as lazily as the snow outside.

Presently one of the lower candles sniffed out, sending out its floating ribbon of smoke as a farewell gift to the ceiling.

‘We should probably go and join everybody else,’ I postulated.

‘Mmm,’ said Dad.

The smoke ribbon waved and bent in the air like an Oriental dancer, an ancient ghost performing her ancient dance for two sets of half-closed eyes.

‘They’re probably toasting marshmallows.’

‘Mhmm.’

Slowly the smoke fizzled away, sucked like a noodle into space. Dad adjusted himself, his arms now crossed on the table’s edge, still leaning on his elbows.

‘We always kind of regretted not taking you and your brother camping,’ he declared, making the kind of cognitive leap from marshmallows that only my dad and I can make.

‘I’m not too worried about it,’ I replied. ‘Me, I’m a city girl, through and through.’

‘How do you know? You’ve never spent more than twelve hours at a stretch in New York City.’

‘Yeah, but those have been some awesome twelve-hour stretches.’

‘And besides,’ he continued as if he hadn’t heard me, ‘I just don’t get why people like cities; every building pretty much looks like every other building.’

‘Well if you look at it that way, every hill looks pretty much like every other hill, and every blade of grass looks just about like every other blade of grass.’

Another low candle, which we had both been observing closely for a while now, finally sniffed itself out and sent the obligatory graceful smoke signal.

‘Where would you live, then?’ I asked, knowing the answer.

‘Easy. Nova Scotia. Not even a question.’

‘Why?’

It took a while for him to answer, even though he’s answered that question, too, many times before. ‘Oh, you know,’ he began vaguely, ‘less people, less houses, less traffic, more grass, and a view of the ocean every morning.’

I hid my doubt in flickering shadow. While it was obvious he was now floating nostalgically in maple-syrupy memories of his beloved almost-isle, I have never quite found his logic compelling, just as I know he would find my caressing descriptions of New York’s neverending bustle, where infinite numbers of infinitely different people come together to form an ocean of harmony, utterly confusing. But I went along for the ride.

‘So why don’t we live there?’ I asked, only about half facetiously.

He took a long time answering that one, too.

‘Well, your mother was never really into the idea.’

One for my side.

‘Plus we could just never really afford to. It would probably be hard to find some work up there, too.’

Another candle winked out, another smoke ribbon floated to the ceiling.

Dad watched the smoke rise and fall, as if there were a tiny storm inside the room that only the smoke ribbon could feel. ‘We told you, we picked this house because it was exactly between your mother’s and my jobs when we first moved in.’

Someone’s laughter in the room next door drifted through the room like a plastic bag on a lazy breeze. Dad made a small sigh, or maybe I imagined it. It was hard to tell; there were only two candles left, and anyway a sudden gust of wind outside sent snowflakes swirling in all directions. It was looking to become a real snowstorm. Inwardly I praised and thanked my sweater.

‘Perhaps we really should join the festivities,’ I said outwardly, and immediately felt a little guilty.

‘What, and wait for the maid to clean all this up?’ Dad complained, referring to the erstwhile feast spread before us on the table in the half-light.

‘Mhmm,’ I said, only about half facetiously, pushing my chair back and rising from the table, carefully stacking more plates than I should have safely been able to in one arm and carrying them into the kitchen. A creak of another chair pushed back from the table, a few seconds later, and Dad followed me in with twice as many dishes.

‘You go on in,’ he said, gesturing with his chin, ‘I’ll get the last few plates. Go on into the living room.’

‘Will you be done soon?’

‘Yeah, I’m just putting the leftovers in the fridge.’

‘Well hurry, before all of the marshmallows are gone.’

‘Not for me, that stuff’s no good for me.’

I turned and left the kitchen through the dining room, surreptitiously snagging a half-full glass of wine from the table. As I opened the door to the living room, one of the last candles flickered out, as if startled by the sudden tumble of noise. There was one candle left, as I closed the door and turned to the large roomful of talk and laughter, people, and a merry fire.