A cold gray sky followed me home. Like the town crier, the weatherman had shouted warnings of coming snow, but I try not to worry about things I can't control. My head ached from lack of sleep and the changing barometer, so I closed my eyes to dream it all away. I woke to find the snow softly settling on the lawn, glimmering in the holiday lights strewn down the street. So it begins. A pretty picture I study through the window, cuddling a cup of cocoa to warm cold fingers. I'm sure children bubble with excitement as the probability of a snow day becomes sure; it doesn't matter that they had months filled with days off from school and the end of year holidays start next week. A day off is a day off. There are some, I'm sure, dreaming of a White Christmas. For a few quiet moments I ponder the pretty picture in my mind— watching snow fall outside the window, the perfect backdrop to the tree twinkling with years of memories, as carols play the soundtrack to the season. But I am old. The beautiful snow globe bubble bursts with thoughts of how many inches will fall, and will the power go out during the night when the brunt of the storm is due to hit. I wonder how much shoveling will be required, and hope my aging body will be up to the task. My phone shouts that I have a message. An old friend's mother has died, complications from pneumonia and Covid 19. Another name on the casualty list of this hideous year that seems never ending. The difference is this is a name I know. A woman I have laughed with, a woman whose Christmas cookies I have eaten and enjoyed. A mother, a grandmother, a secret poet, and she is gone. My heart aches for her daughter and her granddaughter. I know that pain too well, there is nothing to ease it except time, and time seems to have stalled. I look out the window watching the world being buried in white, and weep for the lost, those whose names I know, and all the ones I don't. I pray peace will come soon.
RIP, Joan Mangan, December 16, 2020
~Elise Skidmore ©2020