Walking through the snow...
He lowered his head and bent down to shove a handful of snow into his thin little fingers.
"I know where the snow comes from, you know," he turned and confided to me.
"You do?" I asked, trying to stifle a grin.
"Yeah," he replied, his brown eyes warm and trusting. "Snowflakes are pieces of the moon, falling down from the sky. See how some of the pieces shine, just like the moon?"
The real story: Every Snowflake Tells a Story, Don't It?
Yesterday, on the way home from work, I was cursing the weather something fierce. Oh yes, part of me--the little kid inside of me--was delighted not to have to go to rehearsal. But the grownup side of me knew that I had an obligation to call the cast as soon as possible, and so there I was, driving down 95, trying to navigate the S curves through the storm, and look up phone numbers from the contact sheet so that I could punch in numbers into my cell phone and relay news of the cancellation to the 30 or so members in my cast.
It wasn't until I was halfway through the list that I happened to glance down and realize that my tank was on empty. The "no gas" light burned red like the eye of Cyclops, just as terrifying in its unrealized potential for disaster.
Gritting my teeth, I checked the signs to figure out how far I was from the next exit. Two miles. I had no idea what exit it was, really, but figured I would just take a chance. There had to be a gas station somewhere, right?
Wrong. I had turned onto an mini-highway. A road certainly not as central to Rhode Island as the great god 95, but still, another mighty python that snaked its way through the hills and valleys of the state, with great ribbed columns jutting up in the center of its spine, and not a place of business or rest stop to be seen for miles around.
I hate this particular waiting game, and being so forgetful, it happens quite a bit, too. The game of, "Will the gas run out before you find a station?" My stomach get tied in knots and I silently pray to the gods that be, or gently whisper to my car, "I'm getting you there, sweetie. Just stick with me for another mile or so. I'll get you food to fill your belly as soon as I can, sugar."
Well, this one took three miles, but my reliable RAV-4 made it to the next exit, and thankfully, there was a small gas station, right there on the corner. I drove the car to a station and moved to get my wallet. Now, where was it? Oh yes, I had locked it in the glove compartment after lunch. Just need to unlock it and snap out a credit card. I turned the car off and moved to place the ignition key in the lock.
But the lock didn't budge, not one inch.
What? I moved to try and unlock it again, this time with a bit more force.
The key twisted a bit, but the lock did not open. Something was keeping it from catching.
Well, this was bad. Here I was, driving on fumes, parked at the gas station, and my wallet was there, and yet not there, at the same time. Well, I wasn't going to let some stupid injection-molded glove compartment get the better of me. I kept twisting and twisting the key, but the lock would not budge.
I tried to find a weakness in the armor that I could exploit. The upper right hand corner looked as though it would move just a bit. I reached over and tried to twist it down, as hard as I could. But it was no use, it just wouldn't give. It would move forward a bit, then snap back, making me feel puny and helpless.
Finally, I gave up and decided to seek some help. I moved into the gas station, where a handsome African American guy stood behind the counter, with a thick Afro, smooth strong arms, and vacant eyes. He was wearing a gray T-shirt and slightly smudged cargo pants. He looked at me with smouldering apathy.
I felt slightly ridiculous making my request. What if he thought I had stolen the car? And then I thought, "YOU? Yeah, fat chance that one."
I explained my request and he walked out with me, assessed the situation, and in five seconds had the key in the lock and the glove compartment open. He nodded at me, I thanked him, he shook his head and moved back to his station, and I thought, "Just another reason to hate snow in March."
Yes, possibly. Just another reason. Until I saw the kids reacting to the snow tonight, and remembered suddenly what it was to experience the wonder of snowfall. Grabbing handfuls and pressing them to your tongue. Making snow angels. Pressing a fistful into a ball and throwing it at your friend, who runs, screaming with laughter, to move out of the way and then duck down to scoop out a snowball of their own.
And then Tiger, tonight. And his theory on the origin of snow.
I mean, how poetic is that? Snowflakes are pieces of moonfall. How did this kid, this kid who is usually so solid and logical about everything, come up with a story like that? It made me grin, but more than that, it made me love him even more, to catch a glimpse of the lovely, poetic soul that lives inside his thin frame, that I catch glimpses of, every now and then, peeking out from behind that confident smile.
Pieces of moonfall. I love it. Makes me want to go outside and grab a handful of snow for my freezer. For summer. So I can take it out and remember moonfall in March, sift it through my fingers, feel its cool touch, and look up at the sky and imagine nighttime and remember the special glow of the moonbeams on a cold snowy night in March.
And my boy. And his theories. It doesn't get much better than that.