It was the first storm of the year, two days after Naw-Ruz, the first day of spring, the first day of a new year. The beginning of spring didn’t always mean the end of winter, but I was used to that. At least the weather was nice for our New Year’s party. And since, this year, the spring equinox happened at 7:46 in the evening, we could have our party at the exact time the new year began.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Snow from the last storm had not melted yet, now we were getting a new layer. At least we had two days of sun, even if it wasn’t warm enough to melt anything except those rare spots facing south where the heat could concentrate.

“What a way to start a new year!” Arzone remarked. “The second day of spring, and we get a blizzard!”

“It’s not really a blizzard,” his mother remarked. “I can still see the barn. When we get a good blizzard, we can barely see that, and we can’t see the pond beyond it at all.”

“I know, but still…” he grumbled.

“I think the new snow will be helpful,” I said.

“How?” He looked at me suspiciously. “How much are you going to shovel?”

I shrugged my shoulders. With my broken leg still in its cast, I probably wouldn’t be doing any shoveling for a while. If I was lucky, the cast would stay on until spring had progressed so far there would be no snow. I didn’t mind, this would be the first winter I didn’t have to shovel, and the first that Arzone would have to do the bulk of it. It wouldn’t hurt him at all.

“If you packed it down, it might make a better run for the sled. I can’t help, but I think you can do it.”

“Oh,” he was thoughtful. It was clear that this was a new idea for him.

The sled run was his idea, he’d thought of it last year. I just did my chores and went back into the house when I was done. He spent more time playing than doing his chores and last year he’d come up with the idea of sliding down the slope to the pond – and on across the pond! Each time, he started sliding further and further back from the pond, till now the run began nearly at the house. The ground sloped enough, so it worked.

When I was little, and the pond was being constructed, I had been severely warned with a spanking, not to go near the pond, and I never did. He had not gotten that same warning, so he played in and around the pond his whole life. I didn’t. I never would have imagined sliding across the ice. How would I know if it was thick enough? How did Arzone know? I figured he worked that out with mom and dad.

The idea of improving the sled run changed his attitude and he went about some chores in the house with a half grin on his face. Even if the idea didn’t work, he was more pleasant to be around, and that is always nice.

I love winter. I love snow, especially the big, fluffy flakes such as these. Most of our snow on the prairie, though, comes as small bits of ice. They are no fun, especially with a horizontal wind. Today, there was very little wind and the flakes fell gently straight down. In addition to the magical beauty of watching the flakes fall, I am entranced by the silence of their falling. All sound seems to disappear, or at least is muffled. You and the falling snow become a tiny world, all the rest is somewhere else away.

With my cast, it is too much of a struggle to get out, but I could sit by a window and watch. I had a book I liked. It was a perfect day. My leg inside the cast would itch, but that was a minor bother and when I was deeply into the story in the book, I didn’t notice. Watching the snow outside the window, I didn’t notice either.

What itch?

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