Februaries Gone

“I hate winter,” my grandmother grumped, the hot water bottle slumped on her belly. “I hate how the trees look so God-awful bare. It’s depressing.”

That morning, buttering my muffin, I braved a contradiction: “It isn’t depressing, Grandma. I think it’s pretty!” I kicked my heels against the chair legs, more fidgety than an eleven year-old should be.

Arch-browed, she replied, “You think so?”

“I can show you,” I smoothed the butter into the crevices. “Wake up with me tomorrow, and I’ll take you to go see.”

And so the eleven-year-old and the seventy-year-old set out in the Connecticut pre-dawn, pre-breakfast. We labored up the hill, though we couldn’t see our breaths let alone our feet. We gained the summit, breathless, and sat in chairs of granite, borrowed from some other ancient hilltop perhaps never to be returned. And we waited.

“It’s cold,” she said.

“Yes,” I said.

And then the sun began to rise.

“Ugh, these trees are so ugly,” said my grandma, looking up at the boughs which covered us.

“No, Grandma, not those ones! Look down the hill, those ones, in valley by the fields? Far away, they’re not bare trees. They’re a scattering of goose down.”

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