Mum and Tad were busy getting ready for the storm. Wood needed to be brought in, extra water put up if the power should go out, a soup pulled together to simmer on the woodstove, a few loads of laundry. Tad was busy digging out snowshoes, cross country skis and shovels from the crawl space. Evan would tag along, carry wood, give hay to the sheep, hand laundry to Mum as she hung it up to dry. This may be the work of snow but tomorrow there will be play. This was going to be the first big snow of the season and Evan could not wait to make a snowman.
It was a windy snow storm. All night the howl of the wind conversed with the creaking of the trees. In the morning little swirls of powdery snow danced across the yard. The thick layer of snow was enough for skis, enough for snowshoes, enough to pull firewood in a sled to the house.And now begins the long slow ritual of donning snowpants,layers of wool, winding carves, wool socks making feet more snug in winter boots.
But the snow was not snowman snow. It was too dry, too powdery to hold together.
For several days there were thin tracks made in the snow as ski trails were broken. There were trips in the sled as Tad tried to get Leroy Brown Goat to pull Evan around the yard. Mum made hot chocolate and the last of the Christmas cookies were eaten. There were quiet moments by the woodstove as Tad read new books from Christmas to Evan. There were music making moments as the new Ukelele played along to Tad's maritime songs.
And still the snow was not snowman snow...not even snowball snow.
The weather man predicted warmth and rain. Mum and Tad are busy getting ready for the storm. There is firewood to be brought in.Hay and feed to put away. And finally, a snow man to be made. Mum begins with a small snow ball and rolls it in a large but firm foundation. Evan follows her example and makes the middle. Together they roll the head. Evan finds two sticks for arm. Mum goes inside and finds two black buttons from her button drawer and a small carrot. A curved stick is found to make a fine smile. Bunches of pine needles are placed on top of its head to give the snowman a full head of hair. He seemed a happy fellow.
And then it rained...
The next day the sun shone down on a diminished figure standing just outside the door. On the ground is a stick arm, some button eyes and a carrot nose. Evan puts on his snowpants, winter jacket, mittens, socks boots...such a labor. He helps Tad feed the sheep, helps to bring in some firewood. After the chores he has his own chore to attend to.
From the kitchen window Mum watches as Evan returns the button eyes to their proper place. A nose is centered. An arm is put back at an angle that makes the snow man seem to wave to Mum as she washes the dishes. Once the snow man is restored to a hint of his former self, Evan gives him a hug. A gentle pat on the back. A small comfort for the iceman as the sun beats down on his back.