I remember a time when I didn’t think that winter was a drag, an inconvenience. Sometimes I still feel that way as I look out my window at the quietly falling snow. I remember those childhood days, those winter adventures of my youth. Here is one of them:

                          Winter Boys

         It’s the full life of winter’s blustery height

         ice and flurry and sharp-scented cold

         could be mistaken for nature’s call to death

         but it’s character, soft landscape, chill flame.

         So we’ll pull on big boots and tussle out the door  

         trek on back to the river frozen deep       

         jump up and down on the ice until it cracks

         walk across water like apprentice Jesus.        

        Then up along the railroad track, hollering down the valley

         teetering on the slippery rails, pounding our chests

         at the approaching engine, falling away                                                           

         at the very last second, down into warm and welcoming drifts.

         We pack up solid ice balls, lob them over the precipice  

         listen for their smack against the distant shivery pavement 

         then clamber down the hill to the snow-snarled street    

         dart out suddenly, grab rear bumpers, pogey on the cars.

         All the neighbor girls are trying on their delicate skates

         they’re ready to giggle across the ice in frilly skirts

         they need our trusty shoveling to open up reluctant ponds

         and that we do, but we disdain their dainty pirouetting.

         We’re tough guys body-slamming each other on the ice

         the pond is a great hibernal wrestling ring

         it’s only when some peewee warrior cracks his head and wails

         that we shrug away from rowdy bickering.

         We’re headed out for an icy exploit

         ready to revel in the frigid winter world

         we’ll chop and stack an igloo fort, or roll up a snowman,

         push in lumps of coal for eyes and a dead carrot nose.

         All the frail adults indoors, but this our wild universe

         we stride right forward into the knifey wind   

         breaking a path out back to the trees

         and we don’t need any big-brother snowshoes.

        It’s there in the woods that we’ll build a fire

         with matches purloined from mothers’ purses

         crisp sticks gathered by our aching mitten hands   

         suddenly we’re warming and invincible.

         All around the sky is milky white and falling

         not a sound in the little tree grove

         our piping voices hushed and still

         as the great being of winter embraces our small daring.