The blanket of snowed wrapped around my home, covering the lawn and the trees in its glistening white, and wrapping me in comfort. I pondered the warm feeling that had come over me and how something so cold could leave me feeling so warm and secure.
Winter, it is a season that many dread. And I’ve already heard the moans and groans of my co-workers, as they head out into the recent breezes and precipitation.
Winter makes me feel alive. So once again, I find myself on the opposite end of opinions and likes. When those first snowflakes fall from the sky, I feel the magic of Christmas fluttering like the wings of a hummingbird within my heart. It is like the sprouts of new growth in the spring. There’s just something about these changes that make me feel alive.
This afternoon my husband went to his friend’s house. My son went with his friends, and I was left home alone with my dog. I had plenty to get done, and the solitude was as comforting to me as the snow. I quickly got to work on my latest project. Things were going quite well, and I sang along to the music on my stereo. But then I looked down at my dog sleeping soundly beside me on the carpet. She surely bored of this same activity day in and day out. Besides, I was dying to get outside and romp in the snow. I mean, what kind of snow was it anyway? Was it powdery or sticky? Good for sledding or not? Those were the questions that snow had brought about in the child that still lives in me; questions that needed answers that I would only find by venturing out into that beautiful winter wonderland.
I dressed in my snow pants and Columbia brand jacket, and as I pulled my boots on, I looked up at the lock on the backdoor making a mental observation that it was unlocked, and I thought to myself that I had been home alone with the door unlocked and had not known it.
“Ready?” I asked Cleo. She had already been waiting anxiously at the door, her tail wagging and her feet fidgeting on the ceramic tile, her toenails making clicking noises.
I opened the backdoor and watched her aged and overweight (she has a thyroid problem!) body doing its best to romp through the snow. I scuffed along behind her, my oversized snow boots making elongated and exaggerated footprints in the virgin snow.
We made our way to the shed where I grabbed my favorite sled. Lightweight and slick, that’s what I like. Cleo’s ears flopped up and down against her head, as she gleefully followed. Her joy was mine. She had been a gift for our children, but as it goes, kids grow up and move out, but the family dog is left behind – along with the mom (me). Cleo was my constant. Always there, always ready to listen and always ready to play.
At the top of the first hill, I set the sled down and plopped my behind upon it, sinking down a couple of inches. This wasn’t good, as when I began my descent, I became like a snowplow and the white just built up in front of me. But I didn’t give up hope. The texture told me that although this wasn’t the type of snow you could skim along the top of, it was the kind that would pack and with a little work make a slick track.
I began my work. Holding my body weight up and tilting the front of my sled upward like a spatula smoothing out the icing on a cake. Finally to the bottom of the hill, I trudged up beside my track and set about trying it out. It wasn’t as steep as I needed it to be, but it worked, and I gave it a couple of runs with Cleo watching from the sidelines. She’d outgrown the urge or ability to tromp along behind me. And in this instance, I was glad, for that always put lumps and bumps throughout my smoothed track, and I had never been able to train her NOT to do that. And now I wondered if she was going to find a resting place in the middle of the track, but luckily, she settled to the side.
I rode the sled down the hill a couple of times, huffing and puffing my way back to the top of the hill before I decided it was time to head back and get back to work. Halfway back, I let myself fall backward and made the perfect snow angel only to have Cleo walk carelessly through it. Oh well, I thought. Who would know? It had been perfect when I got up.
I reached the house before Cleo, and placed my hand on the new door handle that my husband had installed a few months before. I pressed down only to feel resistance. The door was locked. I chuckled nervously. No need to try any of the other doors. I already knew they were locked. I rarely sat home alone with the doors unlocked.
I walked next door to my parents’ house. I already knew that they weren’t home, as I had called earlier to see if my mom wanted to join us in the snow. But I had thought that at one time, they kept a key to their door under one of the decorative rocks beside their outdoor water spigot. I dug through the snow till I found the smooth top of the rock, rolled it aside revealing dark damp soil. No key. Reaching in my pocket, I pulled out my cell phone and called my son. “Hey, do Grandma and Grandpa have a key hidden outside anywhere?”
“No,” he answered, “but there’s a garage door opener in our breezeway on the counter.” He was assuming I wanted in their house, not ours.
“Yeah,” I replied, “But I need in our house, not theirs. I locked myself out. Where are you?”
I heard the concern in his voice as he told me he was too far away to do me any good.
“It’s okay,” I said, more concerned about him worrying than about my own comfort. “I’ll call Dad.”
I hung up and dialed my husband’s cell phone.
He answered on the third ring, but he was not near his vehicle and (in his exaggerated estimate) about two miles from the road. He was with friends on a deer hunt.
“Okay,” I answered angrily, “Guess I’ll fend for myself, as usual.” No white knight would be coming to my rescue. Such was my life.
I looked down at Cleo, who was now lying in the snow eating the white clumps from her feet. “Guess I’ll call Grandma.”
My mother answered and laughed, as she thought I’d just called to check on them. When I told her I was locked out, she told me they were just down the road and would be right there. Okay, so much for the Prince, I’d take the King and Queen. They were much more dependable.
Within five minutes, my parents pulled into my driveway grinning. I was laughing, too. They pushed the button to the remote of their garage door opener. We had long ago programmed ours the same as theirs for the convenience factor.
I told them they need not worry; this would not happen again. I was going to hide a key in the shed. I’d never be locked out again.
Mom agreed that it was a good idea.
Living next door to my parents has been something that I’ve come to take for granted. They are there when I need a cup of sugar – yes as cliché as that sounds, it happens! And when I’ve left for work, and can’t remember if I shut my garage door or if I left the iron turned on, or if my dog needs to be let out because I had to work over or through lunch. And I, in turn, try to be there for my parents.
Everything happens for a reason. And I think that even my locking myself out of the house served a purpose. I’m not sure what, but I do know that I am always being shown that although the support I seek doesn’t always come from where I expect it, the support comes.
It reminds me of the star of Under the Tuscan Sun. She is looking for love, a family, people to cook for, and all of those things. But she has a predefined way in which she thinks these things will show up in her life. By the end of the movie, everything she dreamed for has shown up, but not in the form she had dreamed of.
I think that’s the way life is. We think we can see what we want. We think we know exactly how it is supposed to be. But the truth is, unless we open to possibilities, we may never know the blessings that have been bestowed upon us. Stuck in our stubborn shoes, we may just stand there looking when what we need or want is really right there in front of us. We just have to open our minds.
I would have preferred my knight to rescue me, but I felt blessed to have the king and queen.