Twelve Days of Christmas: Snow

This is from Day 2 of the 12 Days of Christmas Bop: Snow.


Gift of Snow


When the snow first arrived, in early October, Anya ran to catch the scattered flakes on her tongue. She and her younger sister shrieked as they darted among flakes thick as white butterflies.


They grafted snow angels onto the hillside, delirious with its chill embrace against their hot cheeks.



They tramped long white trails into the kitchen, melting by the samovar, to the despair of her mother, “Anya, this is not a barn!”


They snitched bottles of Grandmama’s cherry cordial, pouring them over bowlfuls of snow and eating till their lips were numb and crimson. They skated and sledded and rode the sleigh into town, bells jingling faintly.


The snow was a gift, until it caused the barn roof to collapse. All the animals died of exposure that night. All the stored food, the supplies to last them through the endless winter, were ruined and spoiled. The root cellar remained, but unending turnips paled after a while.


The snow drifts grew higher. Her little sister’s small belly distended painfully. They could no longer leave the house; fuel was scarce and it required too much to warm them again.


Late one night, when the moon was high and the wind stopped its shrill north howl, Anya put on all her sweaters, three pairs of socks and wrapped Grandmother’s shawl around her face. The snow surrounded her like two chill walls, a slender dazzling ribbon to guide her into town.


After a few hours, her legs grew treacherously heavy. Anya burrowed down into the snow. The stars were very bright. She shook her arms and legs to restore circulation. Her sodden limbs moved slower and slower.


When the guardsman found her the next morning, it just looked as if she’d created another angel, with the gift of snow.



Image courtesy of Jean Ladzinski Photography | Creation Inspired Prints, Art Cards and More
Copyright © Jean Ladzinski 2005-2012, all rights reserved.

Twelve Days of Christmas: Music

This is my entry for the third day of the 12 Days of Christmas Bop: Music.

“Music is mediator between spiritual and sensual life.”
– Ludwig van Beethoven

The moonlight spilled over his windowsill.

Age-creased hands tapped rhythmically at a keyless keyboard that sounded only in his mind. Dark clouds fled swiftly across the sky, scattering the light. A storm was coming.

He was not there. He was lost in a summer, 24 years ago. The glow of Giulietta, her fire, her elusive smile. He’d written her a sonata. He could not hear her voice, but he remembered the touch of her hand: the slight pressure and then slipping away, a sylph of light and air.

An octave in the left hand and a triplet in the right, repeated, repeated, as he felt the thrill through his veins again. He played his windowsill piano, feeling the Adagio Sostenuto pour through the tips of his fingers. A brisk wind was kicking up and he felt, rather than heard, the distant thunder.

“Delicatissimamente,” he murmured. Italian always captured Giulietta better than the dissonance of the German.

The rain started then, thick drops spattering the sill. Heedless, he played on.

His face, that rough-hewn clay, held little attraction for such a lovely young Countess, but his playing had always drawn her like a moth to the flame. She would sit beside him on the bench, whispering into his unhearing ears. He would rest his hand atop her small one and guide it through the roll of her sonata.

The blanket tucked around his legs fell away. The thunder cracked its bass and the wind lashed his face with water. He rose, with the intoxicating spiral of the final swell, her only kiss on his lips.

They found him the next morning, crumpled by the open window, a faint smile remaining for the music only he could hear.