Snow clogs the air, ominously and thrillingly. It neutralizes time and blows into mind the Big Blizzard of ‘67 when I was smaller by a drift or two.
You were already a windswept woman in 1967, my raven sister, fruited in a peach twinset and slim wool pants, accentuating your hourglass. By the fire you styled my adolescent hair like Twiggy’s. You, a lover of storms. I could feel your excitement in the comb and clicking scissors as the skies emptied themselves, like feathers falling from seam-ripped pillows around the black oak trees outside our windows. My head was safe in your hands. You took such care with me.
You were wild. Like a restless, exotic bird, kept indoors. Not angry, though once in a while you cried out -– your energy misunderstood, sometimes dark, as complex and giving as thunderhead clouds -- sky-filling, gleaming, powerful and beautiful. But we of the minister’s clan must be quiet, controlled, stable. You were a little dangerous and unpredictable, with an immense, soft, roiling heart. Romantic, impassioned, with boundless vigor for design and fun that had to be somehow channeled through the church: Youth Group parties, bridal showers, champagneless-danceless weddings!
On that day in ‘67 it was as if you required a storm in your flesh, its turbulence a counterweight to restore and calm what bled in you like a red sky. You needed it. You greeted it, unafraid. When Mom said we were out of milk, it was your chance! You escaped the house-pocketed air for a staple from the grocery store, miles away, on foot. We barely understood, and you were gone! -- slogging with booted piston feet in knee-deep drifts, black hair flying like a crow leaning into the wind and stinging seeds of snow. You needed the storm’s blinding fury to temper and protect your wildness.
How could I know if you’d return? So many hours the blizzard howled on. I distracted myself with games of Sorry, Scrabble, Chinese Checkers. Lunch. Lying face first on the bamboo toboggan skimming down the hill between scores of oaks on the way to the iced lake. More games and staring into orange fireplace flames. On the snow fell. The light changed, the sky grew gray around black tree branches that bordered the deep, empty driveway.
Before nightfall, your stomping feet at the back door! Your crimson face as saturated as a morning sky -- Warning! The raven woman is back, and her black hair is shining blue! She carries milk in her brown paper bag -- triumphant! I wanted to dance a wild dance, like birds among the oak branches, the sky dumping confetti all around!