It was a cold light that filtered down, one winter morning. Lighting up the hoary crust on the bedroom window, it shone on the sleeping eye of one Mariam Reynard, still in the clutches of dreaming. It was at first a rosy light, soft and glowing; then it grew brighter and brighter, causing Mariam to stir and turn and unconsciously lift her blanket to escape. But even through wool fibers the light reached down, touching her mind to wake it.
At last, her eyes opened, and she blinked away the feelings of sleep. She sat up, stretched out loud — and thought about laying down again. Then she remembered the day ahead. It was enough to propel her out of her sheets and up! Outside the day was white and gleaming, glinting from a thousand surfaces that had frozen in the night. The snow was heaped high and soft, ready for anyone willing to play in it. And this was exactly what Miriam planned to do.
Quickly she hurried out of her sleeping clothes, and threw on a shirt and pants to wear under her snowsuit. She brushed her hair back, and tied it with a ribbon. Her mother chided her for being so much in a hurry, but the snow was waiting! Her boats took forever to get on; her jacket arms kept running from her hands. It took impossibly long, but finally she was ready to go plunge into the snow.
When the door opened, letting in that white light of the sky and the snow and the ice, she took in a breath. It was cold, and sting a bit. There was so much of it, the snow: on the lawn, on the driveway, all the way from the curb to the end of the street. More snow that one person could ever walk on, even if she tried until nighttime. What fields of dreams were open to Mariam eyes, shining with the cold light of promise.
Then it was running, falling, rolling and getting back up again. Too much snow! It got everywhere, melting down her back and into her mittens. She laughed. It was such a good feeling, little prickles of cold at the edge of a warm feeling she had inside. She bunched some of it up and threw it far out into the street. It fell straight through, leaving a hole with bits of dribbled snow beyond. Then she lay back, stretched out her arms and legs, and carved images of angles into an icy heaven.
Her breath blew out clouds, and she got tired. It takes work, clearing out holes and building up mounds, making snow men, snow tunnels, snow castles, snow towns. And after all that, only a tiny bit of the lawn had been remade. So much pure, untouched snow. Even all winter’s long, maybe she would never get to it all.
The cold on her face slowly crept down. It tingled at her neck and made her fingers feel stiff and slow. Her feet were like tiny logs. When she stamped them, it didn’t feel like much. Her mittens had long since stopped keeping her hands warm. Now they were a little wet, and the snow didn’t melt very fast when it got caught inside.
Slowly, she reached the point where feeling warm seemed a better idea than making more things out of snow. She stood up, shook off the flakes clinging here and there, and made it to the door. A knock later, and a rush of warm air, Mariam left her winter wonderland.