Walking during snow fall as a teen
|Growing up in Wichita, Kansas, I loved walking across the field near our house
on nights when snow still fell with regularity in winter,
and long before global warming changed weather patterns irrevocably.
I remember my breath steaming when it mixed with the icy air,
My wool knit stocking cap pulled down tightly over my ears
And gloved hands hidden in the sleeves of my winter coat.
There was another field behind our yard and fence, then a dip that quickly rose
up a short embankment where a railroad track ran for endless miles
or so I thought at the time. Then next came a four lane highway, empty and quiet
late at night, the icy fingers of the north wind driving thin waves of snow down its expanse
and beyond that the grounds of an all female catholic college called Sacred Heart.
Of course by 1985 the school was coed, when politically correct
became the focus of the times
I vaguely remember a man made pond with a fountain at its center
that was turned off in the winter, and a statue of the Virgin Mary in white stone
hidden by the vale of falling snow that lent it a pure and spiritual mystique.
I always sat on the stone bench that remained pretty dry, and nearly hidden, in an alcove created
by three tall bushy cedar trees touching each other as if seeking protection.
Swirls and spinning dervishes of snow danced along the diamante blue-white coverlet of snow
that had already piled upon the ground while lacy flakes spun and pirouetted from the sky.
The wind, a mournful whisper, tossed them into peaked drifts against the trunks of trees.
This was, for me, a favorite quiet place, hidden and serene, and I always tried to make it a point
to come here alone on snowy nights before footsteps could mar the purity of the glittering coverlet.