One Moment

Cap’n J and Johnny Null stood next to the fence looking over the dam. Snow still covered the banks of the river and hid the levee path we had walked to get here. The dark water flowed steadily here despite the recent freezing temperatures and ice blocks that choked its movement further up river. I sat perched on a braided thick wire fence lining our path. We had walked nearly a mile from our car at the height of the tree tops with the wind blowing around 10-15 miles per hour steadily. Our resting spot was sheltered a little so we took a moment to enjoy the view before the return walk.

DSC00827The sun was trying to shine through the hazy early afternoon sky. It was a beautiful 30 degree day. The cold temperatures we had been suffering through for the last few weeks had finally lifted. Despite my aching hip and Cap’n J’s cold we had come out for the short two mile walk along the levee, past the tiny local airport, reed-filled marshes, and up to the dammed river. There were great views and the sun felt so good. Out to the Northwest though, behind some dark pine woods, there was a dark cloud brewing.

“Does that look like a storm cloud to you, Johnny? ” I asked looking the darkness over.

Johnny took out his phone to check the weather but nothing seemed to be coming in our direction. Maybe it was just thicker clouds moving through the area but I suggested we head back just the same.

Wanting to lead us back, Cap’n J ran ahead in his bright orange jacket, smiling and giggling. As we walked away from the clouds they blew in over our heads in what seemed like a matter of seconds. Like smoke they swirled around us and seemed to dribble down the sky right in front of us. We were trapped on this snowy path about to feel the brunt of whatever was coming with no shelter except the trees that stood below us at the bottom of a steep drop.

A few raindrops started to appear on Cap’n J’s jacket. Thunder rumbled in the distance so we picked up our pace as quickly as my wobbly pregnant legs would safely carry me. As it got darker, the rain fell harder and began to freeze. The wind picked up through the trees and any time we came out from behind the tree tops it nearly blew us sideways.

We stopped to rest our tired muscles for a moment and catch our breath. Johnny took over the lead. His black sweatshirt was stark against the snow and lessening visibility. Fog rolled in over the water below us and the freezing rain turned to a torrent of horizontal snow. Everything grew white except the trees in the distance which took on a strange greyish-purple hue. Wooden poles holding red lights for incoming pilots turned silver and the left side of Johnny’s sweatshirt began to freeze white with the oncoming snow.

DSC00765The wind gusted to over thirty miles per hour and we had to bend our knees to hold our balance. Cap’J and I held hands against the pull, hunched our shoulders and kept close behind Johnny. As I turned left to check behind us for another man who we had passed earlier, the snow seemed to dance there in space, hanging in front of me before being pulled up and over our path and down onto the runway we now walked next to. The man seemed to be doing fine so I turned back around, put my head down and continued to plug away towards our car.

Cap’n J didn’t complain about the cold even though the temperature had dropped significantly in the last few minutes. We just talked about how pretty the snow made everything look and how sad it would be when the snow squall ended in a moment. And then it started to calm. The wind slowed and the snow, though still blowing horizontal became lighter and fluffier. Johnny looked back at us to make sure we were still with him and smiled. We did too.

“Quite an adventure,” He said

And it sure was. Unexpected and incredibly beautiful. Just a fleeting moment. Like all things wonderful, even the ones that seem a little scary at the time.

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