I guess: “Stalagmite snow, LEGO snow, cookie dough snow?” I’m not someone you can trust in the mountains.
The avalanche guy in his square hole pokes a finger through the cake.
“Remember that weekend, mid-January, when the temp dropped?”
Kids have stories of stalled chairlift rides, near finger misses, an icy meeting with a larch in the backcountry.
Avalanche guy swipes across the timeline. “Then it suddenly got very warm.”
Postholing around the field with mini-shovels, the kids tell the stories of their winter. They become literate in layers that, when compressed, allow them to fly.
A girl in sneakers lives on the Columbia River. Ten minutes down the hill, like the salmon dammed off from their Kokanee cousins, she knows a different climate.
When I moved from the coast and learned to shovel, I asked: how far down? I had to set a new level of ground each time.
Véronique Darwin is a fiction candidate in the Creative Writing MFA program at the University of Guelph.