Better Weather on the Way

PHOTO PROMPT © Sarah Potter

Photo copyright: Sarah Potter

Many thanks to our gracious host and purple aficionado, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for giving us our weekly prompt here at Friday Fictioneers and to Sarah Potter for supplying the photo prompt. My initial response was zilch, having locked my muse in my sewing closet last weekend. However, she won’t stay there when a challenge like this presents itself. Today she popped up to remind me of dear old Whiny…Winnie.

Another vacation trial for the peevish Winnie and her long-suffering traveling companion, Raylene. To read the first part of their Florida adventure, click here.

GOOD NEWS

Winnie was staring out the window when Raylene looked up from the TV screen. “Are you happy now,” she asked. “That nice manager gave us a room with a better view.”

Winnie scowled at her. “But it’s still snowing in Florida, of all things. How will we manage Disney World tomorrow in this mess?”

Raylene hit the power switch. “I have good news for you, dear. The weatherman says there’s a hurricane barreling toward the Florida coast as we speak. Should hit here tomorrow about noon. That’ll wash away all this snow.”

Winnie eyed the outdoor scene. “Well. Thanks be!”

funny-hat-woman

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

—Winnie in Florida hoping for sun 🙂 —

Avalanche

I was happy when I looked out my cabin window this morning and saw the huge flakes coming down soft as white rain. And no wind. This was my chance to slip up to the little cave and grab another bag of gold nuggets.

Searching for gold last summer in the ‘Caribou country’ of British Columbia, I’d come across a small cavern a few miles west of my claim. Poking around with my pick inside I uncovered a vein of gold. I’d struck it rich! So I staked that claim, too, and built my shack in a valley nearby.

However, I knew I’d have to be careful. Lots of other miners are nosing around these days, paying attention to anyone who comes into town with gold nuggets and following them to their claim. I can’t guard the vein twenty-four-seven and leaving bags of gold stacked in my cabin sure isn’t a smart plan. A fellow has to use his head. So I dug this little cave in the mountain a mile or so from my cabin, stored my gold inside, and covered it all up carefully. Now that it’s winter I only hike up there when I know my steps aren’t going to show. Just in case.

So once I’d had my breakfast this morning I threw on my overalls, boots and parka, grabbed the pick I’d need to move a few rocks. At a whim I stuffed a box of matches and a couple of candles into my pocket, too. Out here a person needs to be prepared; never know when you may have to start a fire. Then I headed out as those pure white crystals swirled around me. We’d already had a few good dumps of snow, so the world is a pretty place in the morning light. I looked back and saw that my steps were disappearing in the sifting snow. I nodded. No one’s going to follow me for long.

Now I’ve climbed up the side of the hill to my cave and raise my eyes to the cliffs above. Pretty white up there. We’ve had a lot of snow all right. With my pick I move a few loose rocks from the entrance to my cache, then get down on my hands and knees to crawl through the opening.

This isn’t a big cave, but roomy enough. Last summer I found and took advantage of a natural gap in the rocks so I didn’t have to move all the dirt out myself; now the rock walls give the place enough support I needn’t worry about it caving in on me while I’m here. I wiggle myself through the opening and pause to rest a minute.

In the dim light I see the bags of gold I’d stacked against the rock, and take a deep breath. There’s enough gold stacked up here to make me a rich man back home. I can live comfortably for the rest of my days. But I want to get as much as I can from that vein before I pack up and go home next fall.

A shadow seems to fall across the cave and I glance through the opening. Snow seems to be coming down by the bucket now and the wind is picking up some, so I’d better shake a leg. As long as I can see the summit of West Ridge I’m all right, but I sure wouldn’t want to get lost in a snowstorm.

Suddenly I hear a rumbling from high up in the mountain, getting louder by the second until it sounds like the whole mountain is crashing down. An earthquake? Can’t be. The rocks around me aren’t shaking; it’s all just noise. I crawl to the opening and see snow falling by the ton in front of my eyes. Before long I see nothing anymore. My cave is black now, the opening blocked by a wall of snow. I push at it, but it isn’t budging.

The darkness feels like ink. Sinister, like you’ve just been swallowed by some monster and are in its belly waiting to be digested. Instinctively I pull out my candles and matches, but hesitate to light them. Do I want to use them up so soon? How thick is that wall? How long will it take me to dig myself out? An hour? A day? I slip the things back into my pocket.

I try moving some of the snow away from the entrance, putting forth a lot of effort and accomplishing nothing. So I sit for awhile, feeling stiff from the cold but grateful I wasn’t outside when that snow came down. I’d have been buried alive! I give thanks for the rock walls that are holding up around me. Had this cave been dug out of the dirt, it might well have caved in from the force of the snow.

I think about lighting a little fire. I did stack a bit of wood in here in case I’d need some dry stuff sometime. Sure glad I brought those matches!

I get up on my hands and knees and feel around; my hand touches a piece of kindling and I pull it towards me. Then remember a fire will use up oxygen. I toss the kindling aside. How long will it be before I run out of air?

To be continued tomorrow…

For awhile now I haven’t given myself permission to sit down and write a long-winded story. It takes so much time! But when I read today’s writing prompt, I decided to forget the clock and just let my imagination take me where it would. This three-part story is the result — hope you enjoy it.

The Season’ First Snowfall

   It snowed almost all weekend, the light fluffy stuff that picture postcard makers like to capture. Two years ago I wrote this article about the season’s first snow, so I’ll post it as I gaze out on our winter wonderland.

    There’s something about the first snow that always excites me.  When I look out the window and see those first flakes wafting down from above, I get that cozy-fireside-with-hot- chocolate feeling.  At this stage even a mini blizzard is welcome!

    Snow.  It comes from heaven.  It’s clean; it’s pure.  Who among us, watching the first flakes fall, hasn’t found herself humming snatches of the dear old hymn, “Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow”?

I think of Christmas, of “walking in a winter wonderland” – first-footing it through the dazzling whiteness, admiring the hoar frost on every tree.


There’s something about a new fall of snow that comforts me.  It tells me that gardening is done, that all my brown-thumb mistakes of summer will be covered for six months by a fluffy blanket.  Then spring will afford another new beginning.


It makes me thankful. When I hear those icy winds rattle the windows, I can’t help but sigh a grateful prayer for a cozy home, for warm winter wear when I must be outside, for a reliable vehicle.  I have been so blessed!*


It lifts me out of the rat-race; it speaks to me of relaxing evenings spent in the warmth of my familiar surroundings.  My thoughts go to craft projects that have waited for months, jigsaw puzzles, writing ideas that have been on my mind.  Now I will have TIME!  Now I will have to stay home and get some of this stuff done!


Yes, I know it’s partly an illusion.  I know there will be times when I must go out for various reasons, and will not appreciate the cold, the ice, the slush.  I know that after two days stuck in the house, I’ll rush off somewhere–anywhere–just to get away.  I know that if I’d been born back in “the good old days,” when families were snowed in for months, I may well have gone mad!


Illusion or not, there’s enough child left in me that I love the first snows of winter.  Like a child, I love to dress up warm after a heavy snow and go shovel our walk.  I enjoy my two days at home before cabin fever sets in.


And of course I really enjoy the last snow of winter!  Usually by then signs of spring are everywhere: the sky’s a brighter blue; the woods are a soft misty green; birds are singing in the trees.  By then my perennials are peeking through, the bedding plants I’ve started are all getting lanky in my window sills, and I’m anxious to get out and dig in the dirt.

    Thank God for the changing seasons!

The Tail End of Winter

Coming home from a trip Sunday evening we took note of a herd of deer wandering among the Angus cattle at a nearby ranch, helping themselves to the round bales of hay set out for their bovine neighbors.  This is unusual; normally deer won’t frequent a pasture where cattle roam free.  Coming home from the city Monday I saw them there again, at least twenty of them.

One of the other ladies at our meeting was saying that the deer are staying in the open now. We had so much snow two weeks ago that the woods have been filled in with big banks, packed hard, so the deer aren’t able to roam or graze and they’re hungry. Hay bales offered so freely are tempting enough that they’re willing to set aside natural prejudices.

I saw a dozen Canada geese go over this morning, too. One wishes the weather were more welcoming; this morning it was -12C, supposedly getting up to 0 (32F) On Monday it was -18 at 7am.  Brrr!

I think right now this is the song every living thing in this area is singing:

GOD-SPEED TO THE SNOW
by Archibald Lampman

March is slain; the keen winds fly;
Nothing more is thine to do;
April kisses thee good-bye;
Thou must haste and follow too;
Silent friend that guarded well
Withered things to make us glad,
Shyest friend that could not tell
Half the kindly thought he had.
Haste thee, speed thee, O kind snow;
Down the dripping valleys go,
From the fields and gleaming meadows,
Where the slaying hours behold thee,
From the forests whose slim shadows,
Brown and leafless cannot fold thee,
Through the cedar lands aflame
With gold light that cleaves and quivers,
Songs that winter may not tame,
Drone of pines and laugh of rivers.
May thy passing joyous be
To thy father, the great sea,
For the sun is getting stronger;
Earth hath need of thee no longer;
Go, kind snow, God-speed to thee!

 

Snow Day Prayer

Brandon got up Wednesday morning and looked out the window at a very white world. Like any eight-year old he was delighted to see a deep blanket of fresh snow on the ground and the air full of flakes swirling on a gusty wind. His joy was complete when his mom told him school had been cancelled because it was so stormy.

He quickly dressed and before long he and his sister were at the breakfast table with radiant smiles, talking of the fun times they’d have today. First there was lots of snow to shovel, then they’d have great fun on the small skating rink their dad had made for them.

They trooped out the door soon after breakfast and spent several hours having fun in the snow. When they were thoroughly chilled they came in and played games. The hours flew by; Brandon was dismayed to find that a ‘Snow day’ goes by twice as fast as a day in the classroom.

That night at the supper table Brandon and his sister heard their mom and dad talking about all the snow and wondering if the wind would let up before morning. If not, school would be likely be cancelled again tomorrow. He and his sister beamed at each other. In bed that night Brandon smiled as he listened to the snow zinging on his window.

Thursday was another Snow day; again the children filled it with indoor and outdoor fun. To top it off, soon after dinner the snow storm was over and the wind died down, so being outside was much more pleasant. The sun came out and made the snow sticky so they built a huge snowman before supper.

Back at school on Friday morning, the teacher asked the class if they’d all made good use of their two-day holiday. The children responded with a chorus of “yeah” and “we had so much fun.”

She asked a few others what they’d done and listened to their reports of snowmen, sledding, and games played. Then she asked Brandon, “And what did you do on those two Snow days?”

“I prayed the whole time.”

Teacher’s eyes opened in surprise. “And what were you praying for that much? Is someone sick at your house?”

Brandon grinned.  “No.  I was just praying for more and more and more snow.”