Thursday photo #prompt – Thaw #writephoto

If you want to participate, here’s the link


Watching traffic from our picture window on Christmas day, a tepid breeze trying to tease the mercilous sun, I asked my mother, “What is snow.”

“Where did that come from,” she chuckled.

“Daddy and I saw White Christmas on TV.”

Mom led me to the fridge, opened the freezer section, and scraped at the ice that had formed on the sides.  “Honey, this is as close as you’re gonna get to snow in Miami.”

At 8 years old, I dreamed of traveling up north, and in the summer, we drove to a motel in the mountains of North Carolina.  The romantic version of that non-wondrous tale is…

…she fell in love with the mountains and became another Heidi. 

More on that later. 

Truth is, the only thing I remember about our 4 day vacation was feeling the wrath of my mother when I ordered fried shrimp and my dad said, “It’s okay.  We’re on vacation.”

I fell under the spell of the evil eye dripping with malevolence all the way home.  Mom was a lot like a vindictive cat who finds just the right time to poop in your shoe.  When Christmas came around, I received my sister’s old bicycle and sis got a new one.

Sure, that’s the child’s-eye version.  But it’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Fast forward to adulthood. I’d moved to the midwest in my early 20’s and found out the hard way that snow was no picnic, but adapted to driving in it.  I learned the culture, made friends…and two children along the way.  But my “white Christmases” were nestled in the hills, plagued by an oil heater that always ran out of fuel on a holiday, and no matter how hard my imagination tried to make it otherwise, hills were not mountains.

My love for the tall peaks morphed into an obsession with Colorado. I dreamed of living 8,000 feet up among the tall pines, maple, ash, poplar and aspen. 

How dreams of a white Christmas in a chalet, holding hands by the fireplace, do thaw in the heat of reality.

In June of my 33rd year, I stayed in the small home of a friend’s friend on the slopes of a mountain outside of Denver. Who knew that one of the ways people experience altitude sickness can include a severe anxiety attack?

The solution to that problem should’ve been easy…right?  Just go to the airport and take the first flight home.  Unfortunately, the sky dumped 4 feet of snow that night, the steep roads were not passable, and I was socked in for 3 days with 2 people who had never seen severe altitude sickness in their entire lives.

Strange how fate takes you to the height of your dreams just to dump a manure-load of reality on top of them.

Would you be surprised to know that my friend and their friend weren’t friends after my total melt down?  Or that, after my failed attempt at Heidihood, I would choose to live 100 feet above sea level in a place that rarely sees snow?

I still live among the pines, but instead of aspen, there are palmettos, and instead of maple there are magnolia trees. Yes, I still love mountains, but I’m content to look at them on calendars.