Living Winter | Teen Ink

Living Winter

May 16, 2023
By leannthornley BRONZE, Plainfield, Illinois
leannthornley BRONZE, Plainfield, Illinois
3 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Living Winter



Cold air stings my nose. The world smells like graceful rain with a hint of peace among darkness. Despite the midnight sky the white powder falling from the atmosphere makes the environment brighter. The snow brings me a sense of innocence, dating back to building fragile snowmen with my brother, and inhibits the remembered pain of scraping your knee after falling off of a bike. 

The way snow stains your cheeks represents the decadent stream of tears, laying beautiful fragilities in a brisk cascade down your body, their chill spreading frostbite across your whole being. The enticing cocaine of the world coating your feet, numbing your toes and numbing your fingers the longer you stand in it, eventually numbing your heart to the sting of the cold. A numbness so powerful it simulates death. Death of feeling, death of sunlight. 

The icy wind wraps its brash and sharp claw around you like a demon’s hand, slowly pulling you toward itself. And there I stood letting it grab me. My hair blowing horizontally toward my right shoulder, hands stuffed in my puffy coat pockets in an attempt to recirculate blood flow, thin legs quivering from the negative chill, lips parted, and with every breath, a sight of my air fronts my eyes, the gray beanie atop my head slowly soaking in the snow. 

Among the lonely snow I’m an outlier with my dark features. Like a black sheep among swans, sticking out like a sore thumb for everyone to see, tired of attention and outlandish differences. The long dark hair prominent against my pale complexion contrasts the angelic blonde snow, the wispy Charlie Brown trees taller than I’ll ever be. Reaching into my pocket I grab a small metal pole, bringing it to my lips to let the fruit-flavored smoke coat my lungs and throat, blowing out gray clouds to match the atmosphere, only they’re not my breath. A rabbit skitters across the snow in slight motions, turning to aim its beady black eyes toward me, almost in confusion. But before it gets too lost in thought, it disappears into the trees right before the blue frozen lake in front of me. Unique patterns etched into the ice like a tattoo on human skin made of blue isolation. 

Snow was made out to be a wondrous creature to the innocent. Build a snowman, and put a top hat on it, it’ll dance. Here, pick up a handful of vicious frozen rain, form a ball, and chuck it at a friend. Or a car. Or a house. Just not at adults, okay? Purchase baggy snow-pants and ugly pink fur boots to play in for recess. Come into the house after dancing in winter to sip on hot chocolate and sing about a man in a red suit that brings all your dreams - except he never shows up, even if you’re on the so-called “good list”. The older the young become the more disdain grows for ice. No more fun icicle licking battles, or Christmas vacations, just yelling at the car tires for losing traction on the highway, or cursing out the weather while shoveling pounds of winter from the driveway. Dealing with the numbness and cold surrounding you for what feels like eternity, hoping for the warm to come. 

But it doesn’t come. 

Instead you’re locked in an eternal frost, wishing you were a white rabbit who could burrow into the ground of warmth and hide, made of lucious fur to keep the warmth around. A body and mind built for the numbness and isolation winter brings to the doorstep on a frightful snow day, hailing chunks of ice with the intent of breaking windows, storming streets and icing the warmth of the car. Stuck in the depths of frozen loneliness that appears to be everlasting. 


I puff out a breath of air. 

I look into the white abyss. 

I use my hand to guide my body to sit on the white ineffective blanket. Wet freeze spreads through my body as I lay backward in the snow, hands folded over my chest to thaw my frozen heart. I slowly outstretch my arms and legs motioning back and forth to create a makeshift angel in the nothingness. I swore I could hear my brother’s voice laughing as he bruised my back with a snowball. 

I playfully stick out my tongue letting a dainty flake fall onto my tastebuds, taking in the taste of water, dirt, and innocence. I laughed as I blew out a giant puff of breath replicating a chimney, the very chimney the man in the red suit came down to give me my favorite doll that sits atop my cluttered closet collecting dust from not being used for years, replaced by the jingling sound of car keys. 

I sigh. 

“I hate snowmen.” 

But just for a moment, I let the chilly stick arms of the thoughts of snowmen wrap around me, and teach me how to dance in the frozen, dark rain. 


The author's comments:

This piece was written for fun, not for a class! I wrote it because I truly found the winter atmosphere to be so beautiful and symbolic. I wanted to write a descriptive sketch/short fiction relating to how winter embodies many different aspects of life; such as change, mental health, and personality. 

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This article has 1 comment.

on May. 19 at 12:15 pm
HenryBillinghurst BRONZE, Boulder, Colorado
4 articles 0 photos 9 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Know Thyself" - Thales of Miletus (attributed)

An excellent job, @leannthornley ! Your descriptions and knack for literary terminology placed me right in the middle of your snowy wonderland, but more than that, your choice of words and flow-like style created a FEELING of what the landscape was like, an aura of the warmth in cold, reluctantly waltzing with snowmen. Beautifully done!