In the deep night of winter’s white, a cold, cold, snow fell. The perfect flakes, each one so special, whirled into deep soft drifts. At exactly the stroke of midnight’s bell, the snow began to swirl and swell. Around and around the snow crystals whooshed. They eddied. They moved. They drifted. Then they flowed. They zoomed and swished until….they formed a mound. When the wind slowed, and then finally settled, a family of three stood anew.
Three pure people of snow stood quiet and still in the middle of a forest’s small clearing. The moon and starlight twinkled on their crystal faces, and all around animals waited in the silver silence…holding their breath for the first breathing in of winter’s air…when the snows would live!
Father was the first to draw a deep-chested breath, and then he huffed it out in a foggy cloud. Mother delicately inhaled and sniffed, ending with a dainty sneeze…Atchooo! Little snow rubbed his face, reluctantly awakening to a winter’s night. “Mom,” he said, “just five more minutes?” He yawned loudly and opened his eyes, while his mouth made a huge circle of surprise, “Oh…!” as his eyes fell on all the pairs of eyes staring at him!
Soon talking was everywhere. Father deeply laughed while he heard all the forest stories from his friend Owl. Mother listened to the birds as they caught her up on all the forest gossip! Little snow stayed still, a pained expression on his face. He wanted to play, and slide, and skid…as all little snowmen did, but…he couldn’t. He just couldn’t.
Finally, his snow would support him no longer and he “plopped” down onto the ground. Everyone became quiet as Little snow cried great quiet snowflakes. Father said that Little snow was just tired and did not have his “snow legs” yet, as he looked around nervously. Mother patted Little snow on the back and told everyone that Little snow would sit quietly for a moment. She said he was still tired and would feel better later. All their forest friends smiled politely and said it didn’t matter, no one wanted to go sliding and skidding anyway…it was too late…it was too dark…some other time maybe.
Slowly everyone left, and evening moonlight bathed the snow family. Father said nothing, but his eyes told all. Mother said nothing, but her mouth trembled every so often, and she quietly dashed snowflakes from her cheeks. Little snow just sat and wished deep in his heart that he was like everyone else. He closed his eyes and imagined sliding…and sledding…and skidding…and slipping, but imagining was all he could do. So, he sat still and quiet, wishing and hoping.
Beneath an evergreen, a little coyote waited in silence. Her hair was soft and thick, and her blue eyes saw all. She knew when Little snow fell, she knew when his heart hurt, and she knew he was lonely. When the clearing was silent, and everyone gone, the coyote shyly moved beside Little snow. “I have missed you,” she said quietly, “I have missed you so much.”
Little snow smiled and opened his eyes. “I knew you were there. I knew you would be here again. I missed you too.”
The two small friends talked and talked, until morning’s light pierced the night. It was time for Little snow to sleep, and time for coyote to return to her burrow. They waved goodbye to each other, happy they would talk again tonight.
On the way home, the little coyote stopped to watch a farm family playing. The father and mother were bundled in coats, scarves, hats and mittens. The little girl sat on the porch. She didn’t play. She didn’t run. She didn’t walk. The father and mother rolled up the snow and threw snowballs at each other, chasing around like children! The little girl smiled and laughed, but coyote recognized the look of longing in the little girl’s eyes. She wanted to play and she closed her eyes imagining that she was running, and chasing, and playing, but that was all she could do.
While her eyes were closed, father went to the barn door. He disappeared within, and then appeared again. He had something that made Coyote’s little ears prick up! It was small. It had wheels! He pushed it to the little girl and waited. The mother held her breath. The little girl opened her eyes. She quietly looked at the chair and noticed the smallness of it. She noticed the wheels. She knew it was hers! She smiled and then, she laughed.
The coyote watched the family play in the snow, and she smiled too. She left the clearing with her bushy tail high in the air, prancing with a purpose in her heart.
That night as the midnight bell rang clear, the snow figures opened their eyes and stretched. Papa sucked a deep breath in and guffawed a loud laugh! Mother breathed deeply and quietly chuckled to herself. Little snow did not open his eyes. He did not want to just yet. Coyote had whispered to him to keep his eyes closed tight, because the little pup had a surprise for her friend.
At the small “huff” from Coyote, each small animal began to place a twig. The rabbits each laid a twig down beside Little snow. The owl and his wife flew down from the tree, holding a twig in their beaks. Suddenly, it was like someone said “Go!” Every one began to place twigs, leaves, and pinecones in place. The beavers patted and smoothed with their huge flat tails, and finally everyone stepped back.
Coyote whined and she waited patiently for her friend to open his eyes. Little snow opened one eye, and then the other. He looked at his friends’ expectant faces and then looked down. The weakness in his snow was gone! He was sturdy and strong! He moved a little, then a bit more. Then he skidded, and slid, and slipped, and swooshed…in his own “chair”. Coyote yipped as they played together, her fluffy tail held high. Mother and Father wiped happy snowflakes away, that constantly tumbled down their faces. They smiled with arms around each other, as they watched their Little snow play. Everyone was happy that Little snow was happy.
When morning’s light first pierced the night, and everyone returned to their homes…Coyote touched her head to Little snow’s head…and whispered, “Friends forever…see you tonight!” Little snow closed his eyes in daylight’s slumber, as Coyote ran home with her bushy tail high.