by Mitch Lee
It was Christmas vacation 1977. School was closed for the holidays and our tree at home had been cleared of all its unwrapped gifts.
My brother was happily playing with his Star Wars figures in his room while my sister played some of her first LP records in hers.
I had settled down to try my hand at a Viking ship in a bottle model at the kitchen table.
I had spread out pages of the Adirondack Echo and was carefully clipping small plastic bits with a set of nail clippers to be glued to the hull.
My mother was picking up fallen pine needles with her vacuum cleaner in the living room.
To say the background noise was interesting would be letting my readers off easy.
Laser sounds from my brother went Pewww Peww, while the vacuum went HUMMMA click, click, click.
“Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” by Elton John and Kiki Dee blasted from my sister’s room.
I perservered and kept my airplane glue flowing through the whooo whooo, Peww, Hummma, Click Click for over an hour before deciding it was time to go outside and breathe some fresh air.
I had barely dragged my winter clothes to the door before my dog Mutt started to stretch in anticipation of going outdoors.
The temperature had fallen well below zero for the first time that winter and I was sure the forest would be making all sorts of noises all on its own.
Mutt and I started a new trail through the snow.
It went all the way up the back hill till we were well out of sight of our home.
Under the cover of leafless trees we wandered in snow that was well over our knees.
Mutt walked carefully behind me so that I could break trail.
Every so often she tried to bound off the trail to investigate something, but she soon came back to my heels.
The echoing sounds of the trees popping were awesome that cloudy mid-afternoon day.
I stomped out a big open circled area where we could just sit and watch our breath and listen to the slight wind and the echoes of the frost popping trees.
If I breathed the air in really fast and long I could feel the sting of the freezing air; it made my nostrils stiff.
I laid back into the snow. Mutt placed her two front paws on my chest and peered into the forest as if she was on look out.
I watched as the snow froze to the fine fur around her paw pads making little tiny balls of snow.
My own heels and toes were starting to tingle so I decided it was time for us to return home.
By the time we reached the warmth of the hearth of the woodstove we were both ready to shake the snow from our outer layer.
Mitch Lee, Adirondack native & storyteller,
lives at Inlet. firstname.lastname@example.org