Growing up Adirondack by Mitch Lee

Anticipating the arrival of the season’s first snowflakes

Wiffle Ball by Mitch Lee

It was very cold when I woke up that morning in the fall of 1977. My dog Mutt climbed up on the bed and tried to snuggle beside me.

I pulled my blankets up around my head and stared out the window at what appeared to be the first snow clouds. I sat up and drew a picture of the sun with my finger in the foggy moisture on the window. Every slender line of the sun sent a driblet of water down the glass.

I scrubbed the window dry with the corner of my blanket and peered out to see if any snowflakes were falling. I couldn’t see any yet, but I just knew Mutt and I needed to get outside and be the first to feel a flake against our skin. I downed my oatmeal, toast and juice without even breathing between gulps. Soon, Mutt and I were dressed snug and warm and out the door.

There was a brisk wind and the sky looked angry as the clouds seemed to swallow the mountaintops. I grabbed up a whiffle ball that I found on the side lawn and walked down to the lake to play a game of fetch with Mutt.

I stowed the ball in my pocket to keep Mutt from bugging me to throw it before we got to the lake.

The roadway was covered in a carpet of reds, browns and golden yellows. Each bright perfect leaf was covered in frost and stuck to the pavement. Mutt got to the lake long before I did, but she did not go into the water.

She waited for me with her nose to the wind, staring at the water as whitecaps crashed the shore. I could smell the snow about to break loose, but still no flakes. The wind hurt my cheeks and my fingers were stiff and hard to move. I jammed my hands into my front pockets and leaned out into the wind. Icy water Droplets propelled into the air from each crashing wave. Mutt looked up at me as if to say, “ What now?”

I told her we had better find a spot out of the wind if we were going to get any exploring in before the snow came.

We followed a well-used path between two cottages and turned a corner into a stand of large White Pine trees which offered protection from the wind. The ground beneath us was thick with a carpet of newly fallen pine needles.

I pulled the whiffle ball from my back pocket and chucked it into the dense brush. Mutt crashed in after it. In a matter of seconds she emerged with the ball, just as the first snowflakes of the season floated in front of my face.

Mitch Lee, Adirondack native & storyteller, lives at Big Moose

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