Winter Blues

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Peter sat on the side of his bed with his head in his hands. “How could my parents be doing this to me?” he wondered. Earlier that evening his parents had told him that since his father could not find a job in Florida that they would be moving near his Aunt in Montana to find a job. “Montana!” he cried. “That’s a galaxy away from my friends!” He ran up to his room and for the last two hours had been hiding in his room, wishing the move away. What made the move worse was that Christmas was only three weeks away!

The next week as the moving van pulled away from his house, Peter glanced around and said a silent goodbye to the palm trees, the sound of the ocean waves, the red-bellied woodpecker and the northern mockingbird in the trees. He ran up to his friends and said his tearful goodbyes. “Yes,” he sighed, “this was going to be the worst Christmas ever!”

They arrived at their new apartment in Montana. Peter tried to ignore the beauty of the mountains and the scent of fresh mountain air. He tried to plaster his frown permanently upon his face to make sure his parents knew just how upset he was about the move. Not even the sight of the glistening white snow would lift his spirits. He was exiled to a new land. He was a stranger in a strange place. He turned to feel a snowball hit his collar. “Dad,” he cried. “Stop it! I’m not in the mood!” Secretly Peter wanted to have a full-out war with his Dad but he didn’t want him to think he was accepting the new place. He trudged through the snow into the apartment building, keeping his head down.

Throughout the whole first week Peter made a point to avoid any hint of a smile. Maybe if his parents knew how upset he was about the move, they would move back. Little by little though, he began to notice things. His mother was humming Christmas tunes in the kitchen. His father had a look of hope on his face that hadn’t been there for months in Florida. He had accepted a position at the local plant and started right away. The neighbors welcomed them with baskets of nuts and chocolate. Even the kids down the hall had invited him several times to join in their games. Although he tried his hardest, the frown was getting harder and harder to remain plastered on his face.

He spent the next week exploring the area. He discovered a frozen stream just a half a mile away from his apartment. Even through the mirrored top he could make out the life below. The bushes scattered around the stream had branches with mustaches of frozen ice. They sparkled in the sunlight as if to shout out the beauty of the day. The trees were still green, even in winter. The green was a deep green, adding a quiet peacefulness like a blanket to a baby. Instead of his Florida birds, the skies were scattered with singing larks. Directly overhead soared a red-tailed hawk. Its outstretched brown wings helped it to glide silently through the air. He followed the hawk as it glided over the hillside. Then, he blinked his eyes. He had never seen so many shades of white in his life. In Florida, there were many shades of blue – blue ocean, blue sky. Here it was white, white, and white. The sky was a gray-white with a hint of blue. The hills were arctic white, crisscrossed by the hillside roads and tractor tracks. The trees, although still green, stood touched at the ends and tops of the branches by a sliver of silver-white, as if an artist added it there as an afterthought on his masterpiece. The scene took Peter’s breath away. It had a serenity that he had not felt in Florida. He felt one with nature here, as if he were meant to be a native Montana boy.

He sped home with a new spring in his step. As he whistled his Christmas tune, he watched as his breath made a white cloud in the air. The cold made his skin feel stiff and dry so he pulled his coat closer around him. He looked in the front yard. His father was putting up the Christmas lights. The snow made the lights reflect in many different directions. Instead of hanging fake icicle lights, the icicles were real, blinking their approval of the festive decorations. He smiled and leaned down to grab a handful of snow. He pulled back, aimed and slammed a direct hit into his father’s coat. His father turned around laughing and Peter returned his smile.

The next morning Peter awoke to the sounds of Christmas throughout the house. His mother was in the kitchen rattling pans while preparing the feast. He could smell gingerbread cookies so distinctly that they could be marching next to his bed. He ran downstairs and glanced at the Christmas tree and decorations in the living room. He smiled as he realized, he didn’t miss Florida. This was a new adventure, a new home and he was happy to be here. He ran outside and began rolling the snow into huge balls. As he finished the face on his snowman, he added a big grin. His snowman would let everyone know that he was happy to be here. He was home.





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