Once with my scarf knotted over my mouth I lumbered into a storm of snow up the long hill and did not know where I was going except to the top of it. In those days we went out like that. Even children went out like that. Someone was crying hard at home again, raging blizzard of sobs. I dragged the sled by its rope, which we normally did not do when snow was coming down so hard, pulling my brother whom I called by our secret name as if we could be other people under the skin. The snow bit into my face, prickling the rim of the head where the hair starts coming out. And it was a big one. It would come down and down for days. People would dig their cars out like potatoes. How are you doing back there? I shouted, and he said Fine, I’m doing fine, in the sunniest voice he could muster and I think I should love him more today for having used it. At the top we turned and he slid down, steering himself with the rope gripped in his mittened hands. I stumbled behind sinking deeply, shouting Ho! Look at him go! as if we were having a good time. Alone on the hill. That was the deepest I ever went into the snow. Now I think of it when I stare at paper or into silences between human beings. The drifting accumulation. A father goes months without speaking to his son. How there can be a place so cold any movement saves you. Ho! You bang your hands together, stomp your feet. The father could die! The son! Before the weather changes.
"Snow" from Fuel by Naomi Shihab Nye. Copyright © 1998 by Naomi Shihab Nye. Used by permission of BOA Editions, Ltd.