I slowly put on the Princess’ boots, coat, hat, and gloves. Then more slowly my own boots, coat, hat, and gloves. I didn’t particularly want to go outside in 20-something degree weather and 4″ of snow. But a promise was a promise, and the kids had been diligent in their school and chores, so Mom was coming outside to play.
“Mom! Mom!” Pokado ran up to me, cheeks already flushed and snow splattered across her back. “You know that slimy guy in The Hobbit? The one with ‘my precioussssss.'”
“Yes! Gollum! Come see, come see!”
So I trudged along, secretly admiring her impression of the creature, not knowing that there was more to her impression than I realized.
She stopped at a clean patch of snow, carefully laid down, then just as carefully stood up.
“Look!” she said, drawing a face on it. “It’s a snow Gollum!”
And I laughed.
And then I took to the back yard and walked with renewed purpose, pulling the Princess in the sled behind me. I still didn’t really want to be outside, but those are usually the days I need it most.
I spent 20 minutes chasing my snow Gollums away (referring here to my internal thoughts, although I chased the kids too), and you know what? By the time I left my walking track and returned to the house, the sun felt warmer. The hedge looked a little greener. And I no longer felt caught up in the tunnels of winter gloom.
I thanked God for a beautiful day (but still cold), for my children (who are optimistic enough to put a smile on Gollum), and for the seasons. I feel the hardest part is behind me now, and I can look forward to spring with eagerness.
I hear it in the wind, I hear it in the echoes of geese overhead. In the howl of the coyote, in the silence of the night.
It won’t be long now.