Softness of Snow Chapter 1

Softness of snow Chapter 1

 

The holidays in Northern Michigan are the essence of all the images you see in commercials, on Christmas cards, the snows soft quiet angelic peace fills the air. There are some who still do sleigh rides, while others take to the slopes; and still some cross country ski, snowmobile for the zoom zoom crowd.

My family loves sledding, hot chocolate, and a good fire in the wood stove. Family gatherings are a mixture of the outdoor types and those who love being near the fire with holiday music playing. Either way, there is laughter, catching up, presents, games and these days techie toys, laptops, smartphones, tablets. No matter, we are always in hollering distance if your needed someone in any particular conversation.

What I want to tell you about was the Christmas of 2014, which was last year, so many changes happen in families, love lost, family passing, beloved pets. Family gatherings are for healing which good for the soul, as long as we all remember that each of us grieve in different ways and at different speeds. Grief is not a destination as life is not a destination it is a process and a journey.

That Christmas my daughter Sophie age 14, just shy of 15 had been gone since summer, a hot June day she disappeared, or ran away no one knew for certain, it is the uncertainty that is the hardest. The mood was somber, we gathered, yet did not have the same exuberant chatter going on. Don't get me wrong we still laughed but it was not the same energy filling the air.

My oldest son Lauren and his wife Lori were expecting their first child. My youngest son Mark his wife Jessup all decided to take time off from work and stay the entire week between Christmas and New Years.

The weather was seasonable, with the highs in the 30's lows in the 20's snow was predicted each day.

Lauren and Lori brought their dog, Foster, Mark and Jessup brought their dog, Kirby, it was fun watching those two Labs run through the snow, Kirby nearly sledded down the hill on his face, as he was trying to keep up with Foster.

Christmas Eve, we exchanged gifts, we promise to keep the limit at 30 dollars, no more, my wife Mona is incredibly creative she makes clothes, paints, you name it. Each year you can tell on everyone's faces they cannot wait to open up one of Mona's creations.

Christmas day was very quiet, I think we were all in our own way remembering how Sophie would be so excited about Christmas morning, we never did tell her Santa did not exist, but I am sad to say she figured it out when the man took her, never to return her, some of her friends have told the police she wasn't taken she went with the man, I call him a man because he is 18.

December 26th I believe is when something started to transpire in the heavenly's, it just seemed as if things were aligning to give us all a nudge forward in our lives so we could heal.

Lori was the first one up, she put the cinnamon rolls in the oven, you could smell the cinnamon fill the house slowly, each person was pulled from their warm beds as if the aroma were fingers under your chin, ever so gently pulling you towards is sweet sensual taste.

By 7 am we were at the table with hot coffee and fresh cinnamon rolls, some with sleep still in their eyes.

Mark was the first one out the door, with his second cinnamon roll in his hand and a cup of hot coffee, walking the dogs, or should I say the dogs were walking him. There is no need for a leash here, we have 20 acres, wide open space for the dogs to run. Kirby was the first one to bark, then Foster ran up barked, whined, ran back to Mark, ran towards where Kirby seemed to be standing guard.

Lauren heard the commotion and Mark called out for him to come out the dogs found something. We all ran to the window. Me with my third cinnamon roll, since Mona my wife was not looking. Mona turned to me and said: “Ray don't think I did not notice that is your third cinnamon roll, you bugger!”

I laughed and pop nearly half the damn thing in my mouth before she could protest more, at that Lori and Jessup started to laugh. Jessup laughingly said: “Your sons are just like you Ray, just as incorrigible.”

I remember thinking how the atmosphere had lightened nearly at the moment the dogs found something. I looked at Mona, we have been married for 30 years, we are in tuned with each other, she felt it also. I wonder what the quiet night slumber brought us.

Mark and Lauren were at either end of a large plastic tub, carrying it to the house. Wha ever could it be?