In a March of Snows

Towards the end of February the clouds began to break and it started to look like winter would begin to wane, but at the end of the month the clouds came back and it started to snow heavily again. In March the snows continued and each morning was grey and white except for the forests that in contrast to the snow-blanketed land looked black and dark and etched with the red branches of tangled young willows.

Wrapped under layered jackets and with his heavy white boots Billy walked through the deep snow to the forest above their trailer. Each day the path he followed became a deeper and narrower trough through the snow until he could only walk with one foot in front of the other. We he looked up to the branches he would have to stand still or else lose his balance walking heel to toe.

He continued up past the spot where the house was being built, past where he envisioned building a greenhouse in the summer, and a shed and a woodfired oven, and up to the back of the property where the land leveled out and he could look down over the property and across the valley. Under the trees this morning the snow had been scraped away and there was horse shit in piles on the ground. They had seen a young mare feeding on the land throughout the winter, and their neighbor said that sometimes the wild horses become separated from their herd and in deep snows cannot make it back.

Billy brushed the snow from the stump of a tree and sat down. He closed his eyes and listened to a light breeze in the branches of the forest, and listened to the snow sifting gently down and falling on his shoulders, and he wondered how a horse could ever make it back to the herd through all of this deep, deep snow.

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