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Winter Through the Eyes of a Child

Winter Through the Eyes of a Child 150 150 Jason Stadtlander

Winter Through the Eyes of a ChildThe drifts of white snow were deep, well above his head. The pale gray sky almost blended perfectly with the horizon as it met the white powder, making it difficult to tell where the snow stopped and sky started. He stood at the glass and aluminum door staring out at the flakes as they blew around, his hands pressed to the glass and his breath fogging the window with each exhalation. He noticed that if he waited for a moment between breaths, the fog would crystallize causing a beautiful pattern on the glass in front of him. The boy desperately wanted to go outside and he had tried to open the door but felt the sting of his mother’s hand on his hand and the big word “No!”

He didn’t know what the word meant, but he knew it always hurt when he heard it. So here he stood, captivated by the beauty in front of him and the beauty beyond the window. It was magical, watching as the flurries blew and the silence that was trapped within them. In his two years of life, each day was forever and every week an eternity. Although his mother had said something to him in words he didn’t understand, he thought he grasped that she said she would take him out. But he couldn’t remember the conversation or what he had understood and now it was in the distant past of his mind, a fading fog. All he knew was that now he wanted to go outside. He blew again on the storm door, the glass fogged and then crystallized. The boy breathed again and the crystals melted, coalesced and then crystallized again in a new shape.

The boy felt a soft warmth on his arm and he looked down. His mother was pulling a sweater onto him with ferocity. She was saying something but he didn’t understand most of what she was saying. She jerked his arm upward pulling his coat over the sweater and his shoulder hurt, but he ignored the pain, because he was still captivated by the window and the frost that had formed, that he had made. His feet were being squeezed into boots and his toes hurt because of the force with which she was putting upon his feet and he cried out in pain. “Stop!” was all he understood in her flurry of words. Another painful word.

Finally the boy stood there, arms puffy, legs wrapped tight and his feet feeling thick. He looked down at himself and although he had never heard of nor seen a sumo-wrestler, had he seen one, he could have related. His mother’s legs and towering face were high above him, she grabbed a shovel and opened the door, the blast of wind and snow surprising the boy. The woman scooped some snow off the front step and then stepped out, grabbing the boy by the front of the coat and pulling him out into the frigid, blustery day. Immediately the boy reached down and touched the white flakes, something he wanted to do forever. But he could not feel them through his mittened hands, so he pulled off his mitten and his arm was struck. He looked up and saw his angry mother, speaking “No!” and more words, then pulling his mitten back on. The toddler stared at the snow, so close to touch it, but unable to do so and felt tears welling up at the torture of it all. His mother who was shoveling, stopped and looked back at him, as tears streamed down his face. That’s when he saw her face melt like the snow and she walked over, sitting down on the step next to him. She said more words, holding his hand in hers. “Cold.”, “Touch?”, “Quickly” was all he understood.

The boy nodded and his mother took off his glove and placed some snow in his hand, he watched as it melted on his warm skin and was surprised at how cold his hand then felt. The woman brushed off his hand, drying it on his coat and then pulled his mitten back on and he once again felt warmth. She balled up some snow and placed it into his mittened hand and then helped him toss it. This was very funny to him and he giggled. Then his mother picked up some more snow and threw it at the same drift she had thrown his at. Again he giggled and she laughed. He understood laughter. Snow was good, it made him happy and he could tell it made her happy as well.

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