I am transported back to the elementary school playground. Hour upon hour we played 4-square on that black top. Except on icy days when inch-thick plates of ice prevented access. On those days, with the heel of my snow boots, I pounded and pounded until a few inches and then a few more gave way. Others join in the assault. Occasionally, a large sheet gives way and a shout of triumph rings out.
The school bell sounds. Man, that was a lot of work!
Next recess, we play.
The driveway is covered with ice as I skate along it to roll out the trash bin. I have my hood pulled up over my head against the cold rain that is falling. My rubber soled shoes have just enough traction. There is a fascinating compression of water under the surface layer of ice that reminds me of a time snow shoeing when I walked across a frozen creek, watching the water flow beneath. Knowing that asphalt lies at bottom here gives me a bit more confidence.
Having parallel parked the bin in the slush distributed by a few passing cars, I take off a glove to extract the two letters meant for the mailbox that I have tucked under my sweatshirt against the patter of rain. The box is frozen shut with a night’s worth’s of freezing. There will be no mailbox access.
Back I go, letters in hand, sliding and crunching and swishing along. I stoop to collect the paper and dedicate my focus to my feet and my balance. My hood and the not yet daylight cover me in darkness, but for the two dim lights affixed next to the garage. I feel the patter on my back and hear the rain spitting on the drive.
Bop. An unseen hand taps me on the head. I peer out from under the side of my hood. It’s a low hanging branch from our crepe myrtle, bent under the weight of the icy accumulation. It’s fingers coated in a shimmering glow, almost as if it is a divine hand. I am stopped. Not angered or injured, just amused and bedazzled. Now, by the whole tree that is covered in a see-through negligee.
Must get a photo, of course, because this must be shared!
I re-emerge, camera in hand, to record the moment and snap a view of branch and tree. But, look at that. Just beyond, are the angels on the lawn, happily announcing the coming King on their snowy hillside. Our neighbor’s lantern even gives them a divine glow.