Last night it snowed.
That might not seem like much to you but snow is rare here. Rare as diamonds and – in my opinion – more beautiful. The newsman said it’s the first real snowfall here in 30 years and I can believe it. Everyone in Texas seemed outside last night, marveling at the soft white flakes that melted on the hot asphalt but managed to survive on the trees and grass and patio chairs. There were family snowball fights at midnight between kids who’d never seen snow and parents who knew that sleep on a school night was well worth missing for such a rare event.
And in the morning the snow was still there. Only an inch or so, and patchy, but beautiful. And we all stared at our houses anew and in awe, as if decorator elves had come in the middle of the night to repaint everything we thought we knew. We were trapped in driveways by tree limbs heavy with snow that suddenly sagged and blocked our way. We were baffled when the car wipers wouldn’t push the snow off the windshields and we searched like terrible MacGyvers to find tools to brush it all off. (I used a stuffed monkey puppet and a plunger. My neighbor used a leaf-blower and yardstick. We were as successful as you would imagine.)
Dorothy Barker whines at the door to be let out, but it’s a hesitant whine. One in spite of herself. It’s raining now and she hates the rain so she must really need to go.
We stand under an umbrella outside and she looks miserable but she pushes forward into the patches of snow that are still left. She smells the place she always smells and for the first time I see the animal tracks. Deer, I think. Or foxen. Small feet. And suddenly I can see the world she smells, and how she puts together stories with her nose that are only revealed to me through snow. She looks at me as if to say, See. I told you. I nod. She wins.
I notice something so strange…the rain continues but the streets shine with bright sunlight. I walk out into the street and close my umbrella. There’s no rain there. I can’t understand it at first and I look all around me until I’m certain of it.
The trees are raining.
The trees are raining and I don’t understand. But then I do it. The new snow in the leaves is melting so quickly it’s created a downpour. I stand in the street with my dog and we watch the rain come down all around us while we feel the warming sun. My neighbor says it’s like being under God’s protection. I say it’s like being Storm from the X-Men. Dorothy Barker says nothing because she’s a dog and anyway I suspect dogs are used to feeling like God-blessed superheroes.
If I lived north this would probably seem normal. If I lived north I would probably not have driven all over my neighborhood to see the places I don’t even really see anymore transformed by the snow. If I lived north I would have probably thought the people stopping their cars in the middle of the road to take pictures of white-topped bushes were crazy. We were all crazy, and we knew it could not last.
But I didn’t expect this. This second weather phenomenon. I didn’t expect the trees to become storm clouds. I’ve been alive for more than 40 years and I’ve never seen this…I’ve never seen trees rain.
I whisper, It makes me wonder what else I haven’t seen yet.
You haven’t seen the foxen, Dorothy Barker seems to say (with a little more superiority than necessary if I’m being honest).
It’s true though. It’s a nice reminder. There are things I haven’t seen yet.
It’s time to get busy.
PS. The 8th Annual James Garfield Christmas Miracle is going on now. If you want to help, go through the comments and find a child in need. It’s the most wonderful feeling. Like walking in tree rain.