“Psst! Mikie, did you hear that?” My sister’s voice broke through the winter silence. Poking my head out of a pile of blankets and pillows I looked at her, and then to my darkened bedroom window.
“Missy, what time is it? Is it morning?”
A mischievous grin crossed her face as she shook her head, “It’s just after midnight.”
“Then why are you waking me up?” I threw a dirty sock at her.
She rushed over to my bedside and leaned towards the window. “Because! Listen!”
Despite the cold, I burned with curiosity. I threw back the covers and jumped out of bed. My hands found a worn blanket and I wrapped it around my shoulders.
“Missy what are we listening to?” I asked, watching my sister’s face fill with excitement.
She slipped a finger between the blinds and looked out into the night. “Just wait.”
For an awkward moment we stood there, in the dark waiting for something to happen. Then gradually a low growl came from outside.
“What is that?” Missy waved me quiet as the sound grew. Between the slats of my blinds I could see lumps of snow crusting over on brick ledges. A flashing golden light grew, refracting off of the iced world outside.
An engine roared as the light traveled closer. And it clicked.
“A snow plow!” I was right. It was as big as our garbage truck, but had a distinct rumble attached to it. The rumble of a giant red-orange plow carving away at layers of snow.
“It’s snowing!” I said with a smile. Missy shushed me, looking at partially open bedroom door.
“Do you know what that sound is? What it means?” Of course I did. It meant that tomorrow was going to be full of snow forts, snow ball fights. Plenty of time spent sucking on icicles, and making snow angels. There would be tubing down the hill in the back yard and maybe even enough snow to make our own igloos.
Missy giggled. “Close your eyes and think about what that sound means.”
I did so. Hearing as gears shifted and metal bounced off of frozen asphalt. In my mind I saw the snow billow around heavy salt stained metal. Snow shifted and broke into a million particles. The snow piled higher and higher, burying the curb and park strip of my front yard. Mountains of white and gray grew so tall, I couldn’t see the trees across the street.
Christmas light would be shrouded in thick blankets of white. Their multicolored tips burning through to the outside. All the world would be draped with lace and ice.
I thought about how we would be racing one another to get snow pants on and buckled. I could feel my feet tangling in wooly socks as I tried to shove them into fur-lined boots. The panic of knowing my sister would be already zipping her coat on and pulling on a scarf made my heart race. She always won anyway.
And then the anticipation of feeling intense cold touched my exposed skin struck me. That feeling that makes your eyes water as cold fills your nose and down into your lungs. Then there was the snow. So much snow it fell in on you as you burrowed a cave. Feeling hard packed spheres hit your contained arms and legs. Watching them as they skimmed over your head or smacked right into the side of your head.
I closed my eyes tight at the though of snow sneaking in over the collar of my coat. Or the disorienting feeling of falling off of a sled. Keep yourself upright while discerning sky from ground as all blurred together to white.
Outside the rumbling shifted past our house and up a side street.
“I know what it means and what it means, Missy.” I said quietly.
“It’s the sound of Christmas.”