One Christmas was so much like another, in those years around the sea-town corner now and out of all sound except the distant speaking of the voices I sometimes hear a moment before sleep, that I can never remember whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when I was six.
In the early morning light, tiny snowflakes fall to earth, adding a fresh blanket to the snows of yesterday and the day before.
Snow sticks to the bare branches of the maples in our back yard; snow coats the scalloped fence pickets; snow dusts the boughs of the distant pines like confectionary sugar.
In the corner of the kitchen stands a pair of winter boots recently purchased at the second-hand shop for the sum of one dollar—size 12, the size of my 8-year-old granddaughter’s feet. The boots are blue with Velcro straps, lined with white wool. They will keep her toes warm when she’s outside playing in the new powdery snow.
Snow boots are not a necessity in Florida, where my granddaughter lives. There she walks the sand beaches barefoot in winter and plays tag with the tiny waves. Here in New England winter boots and snow pants will become the order of the day.
Instead of footprints in the sand, there will be tracks in the new-fallen snow for her to find and explore: morning evidence of nocturnal visitors beneath the birdfeeders. There will be a new puppy to romp with as she slides down the small hill or lies down in the winter whiteness to make snow angels.
Yesterday, as I finished brushing the snow off the car, a gaggle of Canada geese passed overhead just above the tops of the tall pines, honking in the morning light. I was glad to see them. Though fleeting, their presence reassured me that for the moment, everything was as it should be.
My granddaughter arrives today on an early afternoon flight. There will be hugs and kisses and smiles all round, then a drive home over snow-covered country roads to a warm bright kitchen, where in a corner by the puppy’s dish new snow boots stand, waiting.