Frozen Sand

October 3, 2008
When I close my eyes, I can still see it. The rounded white plumarias dashed with a soft, yellow center were hung in the deep blue Hawaiian sky, strung up like a giant lei over thick, sturdy branches. Closer to the beach, a circle of maybe a dozen palm trees within a fingertips reach surround me, and smooth white sand tickles my toes. The sand darkens with the tide and lightens again as the cool, frothy water pulls it in and out, back and forth, on and on until the sun sets and the sky turns purple. I loved our sunny home on Oahu. I couldn’t imagine why we had to leave it behind.

I was six years old and halfway through kindergarten when my family was relocated to Washington State. My father’s one true love in life was his job in the Navy as a Nuclear Engineer. He was to be stationed on the USS Abraham Lincoln. I can still remember what the massive ship looked like; ominous and gray, taller than five palm trees and about three times as long with metal sticking out every which-way. To me, it looked like a death-trap on water, but to my dad, it meant so much more.

We packed all our things and shipped them off, then caught a plane to Seattle, Washington. I left behind so much, including our family dog, leaving her with some friendly people; I can barely recall. My family was immediately greeted by rain, instead of being leid, as we stepped off the plane- something they had always done, at least in Honolulu, for the tourists. Although we discovered nearly half of our possessions missing, we finally made it to our dank, musty apartment in Bothell.

That first day in the apartment was pretty much like camping. We rolled out our sleeping bags on the living room floor, since our beds hadn’t arrived yet. It was still pretty light out, so I asked my mom if I could play outside. “Muh,” I pulled on her sleeve. I was a quiet child, for the most part, and too lazy to even say my mothers full name. “Muh,” I repeated, “can I go outside?”

Her expression was dull and occupied. “No, it’s too cold.” I gaped, stunned. Too cold? I had never been cold in my life, except when the air conditioning was turned way up.

I found out later that she was right. When I enrolled in school, oftentimes they wouldn’t let the children out for recess just because of a little rain. Rain! Not to mention I pretty much always needed a sweater now. Life wasn’t supposed to be about sweaters and rain! It was about lying in the warm afternoon sun as it shone through the window, feeling sticky mud creep up under your toes, the bliss of dirt underfoot as you ignore your perfectly good tennis shoes, letting the ocean wash away all your worries with its salty licks of water. Sweaters were unnecessary, and rain? Why, rain was no cold killer, but a joy, for the coolness of it; something you could dance in, and create things from the mud it spawned. Rain was something to celebrate. It made the grass green, instead of its usual dried-out yellow. It made you want to play outside.

However, all too often, I found myself sitting under the cover of the concrete walkway, shivering, wet and cold, all the time wondering where all the palm trees had gone.

I kept on moping in silence, until one day, when it all froze. The puddles became ice, the dew became frost, and even the rain that normally pelted the ground became… something else entirely. Something I had only read about in books, or seen upon a mountain in the winter, or on television, but never touched or tasted, personally.

“Muh,” I called, “is that snow?”

She slipped into my room and nodded, a look in her eye somewhere between excitement and surprise.

“C-can I go play?” I gazed back out at it in wonder.

“Sure thing, sweety.” She pulled a coat over me, stood in the doorway, and told me not to get wet. From her perch, she watched me clamber down the stairs and into the thick, crisp air. Each breath felt sharp, yet everything, even sound, was somehow muffled by the powder falling from the sky.

The cars, as of yet, were untouched by the stuff, but the grass was dusted with a thin layer and the blacktop was polka-dotted white, some sticking and some melting. It looked kind of like when you flip to a channel you don’t really have, and the television displays a fuzzy black and white signal pattern. As soon as I stepped out, the puffs falling from the sky stuck all over my clothes, dappling me white. My sun-bleached, white-blonde hair, darkening under the constant cloud-cover, was soon wet with melting snow. I felt it pepper my tan skin, and when I stuck out my tongue, I tasted water. The snow was cold, but not unpleasant. Actually, it reminded me of my old home on Oahu. I felt it between my fingers, and it was soft and smooth, like sand, only cold. It sparkled like my once-dazzling ocean in the sun. I could make snow pies, and snowmen, instead of the other things I used to make from warm, squishy mud. And the way it transformed the trees was like nothing I had ever seen! They were now slick with a layer of glittering white, although you could still see the deep green pine needles underneath. I no longer felt like I needed sunshine and leis to feel at home. Maybe this place wasn’t so bad after all?

From then on I began to see how beautiful Washington really is. There are no palm trees or plumarias, but instead there are these magnificent pines, never naked in the winter, with low swinging branches strong enough to cradle and hide me perfectly. The beaches aren’t sandy and warm; in fact, they are too cold to swim in. Yet I stand on them anyway, and discover the little creatures scuttling underfoot. There are all kinds of things to touch, look at, pick up and hold. None of the flowers here are good for stringing together into leis, but hanging from even the prickliest thorn-coated vine is a sweet, succulent blackberry. Everywhere I look, there are things to pick and eat; “One for me, one for the bowl… one for me… two for me…” Even the rain, my mortal enemy, gave life to all of this beauty. The pines I so-greatly admired, the wildlife scattered throughout the forest, and every berry in the bush. Best of all only comes once a year, just as the last of the red and orange leaves fall from the trees; the sky will spit out a few beautiful snowflakes, just for me.

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This article has 11 comments. Post your own now!

lastlullaby23 said...
Nov. 11, 2008 at 10:36 am
awesome.!'s beautiful.
Kai94 said...
Nov. 5, 2008 at 5:32 am
Hey, this is the author! :) I just wanted to say thanks to anyone who's voted for me or left comments, especially my friends and family. Love you all!
Connie1 said...
Oct. 30, 2008 at 3:36 pm
Very good writing, very positive and fun.
FLAmom said...
Oct. 30, 2008 at 2:02 pm
Great descriptions, you took me to Hawaii and Washington with your words. I could see both places.
mimi255GLShake said...
Oct. 30, 2008 at 5:48 am
Just wonderful really took me back. I can smell the flowers. I remember the wind was so soft on my face. Great writer. Can we have more?
Amy H. said...
Oct. 29, 2008 at 9:52 pm
You are an amazing writer. I hope you continue to add more narratives to the site.
Nikoell6 said...
Oct. 29, 2008 at 7:05 pm
Outstanding work! With such amazing detail, it’s as if I’ve taken the trip with the author!
VWFANS said...
Oct. 29, 2008 at 6:52 pm
Great story, Hawaii is over rated.
adilbertfan said...
Oct. 29, 2008 at 6:16 pm
Thank you for sharing your memories, beautiful memories that you will carry with you for a lifetime. Never lose them.
softspirits said...
Oct. 29, 2008 at 5:38 pm
So beautiful, just like the author.
talilief said...
Oct. 29, 2008 at 12:20 pm
Awesome! So descriptive. If you love snow in Seattle, you would be enamored with all the snow and ice we get in Newfoundland and Labrador.
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