Saturday, March 9, 2013

Snow ----

Snowflake, snowboard, snowman, snow shovel, snow boot, snowstorm, snowsuit, snowplow, snow ski, snowfall, snow drift, snowmobile, snow angel, snow fight, snow fort, snow sprite, snow shower, snow squall, snow, snow, snow ball.

Snow ball.

The past two days, as I was out walking, and because we now have so much snow, I decided to pick some up. Why not? I have been missing it. Now that we have it, why not interact with it? Many others have done so . . . with the variety of snowmen (with their hats and their carrot noses and scarves, coal buttons, eyes and noses) that stand or lean on the lawns and in the yards of these houses I pass.
     The weather is on the warm side (high 30s), so the snow is heavy, sticky, and when one picks it up, it easily forms into a solid ball. As I walked, I tossed it back and forth between my hands, and it became denser, denser. I ran my gloves over the surface, shaping it, and it became smoother, icier, more perfectly rounded. I carried it all the way home and kept working it, throwing it, hard, into one hand, then the other. Very satisfying, picturing baseball players with the balls and mitts.
    It had some destructive potential, I thought. If I threw it at close range at a window, perhaps the window would break. If I threw it at a person--into the stomach or the face, it would hurt. I felt that I was carrying a weapon, and what it would feel like to carry a weapon--a sense of power, of being able to defend myself if need be.
Then, the memory came swiftly. When I was a girl, I used to walk home from school with my friend Ruth, who lived across the street from me. There were some boys who walked in the same direction we did, and on snowy days, they used to seriously and sincerely bother and hurt us by following behind us and throwing snowballs, hard, at us. This became such a problem that Ruth devised a strategy by which we would move in fast zigzag patterns on the sidewalk to become difficult targets. I guess that telling them to stop did not work, and the walk home became something to dread.
     As I remember it, there were three boys who did this, but the only one I remember clearly was named Kenny. He was stout and red-haired and covered with freckles, prone to blushing, and his last name, which I will not repeat here for the sake of anonymity, probably caused some people to make fun of him. The reason, I believe, that he is the only one I remember is what happened next. One snowy day, when I could no longer tolerate the situation, I made my own snowball, and slowed down to let the boys come close, and when they passed, with an energy and force that seemed beyond my control, I slammed the snowball into the nearest boy, who turned out to be Kenny, and because I had my eyes closed (fear, I think), I did not have much sense of aim, and the hard snowball went right into the side of his head. I can still see the snow in his red, fleshy ear.

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