Where We Were When Winter Came

It was fall when we began our hike.  At sixty degrees, my sweater felt sticky.  While the sky darkly promised rain, the snow flurries my friend had eagerly forecasted on Facebook seemed preposterous.

The Kid ran ahead, his rain boots clobbing on the path.  Eventually he came back, "Daddy, would you carry me?"  He alternated up the hill--a few steps running, a few steps on Sweet Husbands shoulders, and a few steps riding me, piggyback.

The sycamore at the start of the trail was bright yellow still, and the bittersweet vines glowed-out orange in the tall grass.  But, for the most part, the surrounding hills were grey with bare branches.  We ran the last 100 yards to the top of the overlook.

Out of the protection of the valley, the wind was stronger.  Sweet Husband and I wanted to stand and look for a minute, but the Kid eagerly started down the other side of the hill to the beach.  We hurried to keep up, and helped him as he shimmied down the steep part at the end.

Standing by the water, the wind seemed to instantly shift.  Where I had been thinking of taking off my sweater earlier, now I was rubbing my bare forearms for warmth.

Oblivious to the cold, the Kid rushed to the edge of the lake and began throwing rocks in.  Sweet Husband joined him for a second before coming back to shiver beside me.  I stamped my feet, hunched my shoulders, and tucked my freezing fingertips into my armpits.  

"That north wind is awful," Sweet Husband observed.

"I know," I answered.  "I don't know what happened, but I wish I'd brought a coat and some mittens." 

We let the Kid play until his cheeks turned bright red, and thoughts of a warm lunch became overwhelming.  Then, tossing the Kid's muddy boots to Sweet Husband, I slung the Kid over my shoulder and laughingly carried him back up the hill.  Panting, but still chilly, I stopped to catch my breath at the park bench on top.

But it was too windy to rest there long.  Sweet Husband took the next shift carrying the Kid, as we made our way back to the car.  As we started to drive away from the trailhead, a misty drizzle--one that looked like it could turn into flakes at any second--began to fall.