Lefcardia's nest is atop a tall pine tree.  It looks like a ball of sticks and dead leaves, but it is really quite cozy.
Lefcardia’s Nest is atop a tall pine tree. It looks like a ball of twigs and dried leaves, but inside it is quite cozy.

Chapter One

Lefcardia stretched her arm above her head and rolled over.  She opened her eyes just enough to see light, and then squeezed them shut again.  She pulled her blankets to her chin.  And then her eyes flew wide open.  Snow?  Lefcardia sat up in her bed.  She peeked out from her nest, and saw the world was whited over.  Snow!

Snow changed everything.  From her nest, atop a tall pine tree, Lefcardia could look down to see every twig on every shrub was trimmed with a thick white line, bending some branches low toward the ground.  Snow changed the shape of the trees.  

Snow covered waddle fence, plum trees, mermaid and goldfishes

She listened. Snow changed the sound of the woods.  Tweets and songs of birds floated through the trees more clearly.  There was no rustle of branches or leaves.  There was no echo.  Snow hushed the woods into calm silence and let sounds glide through the air. The church bell rang. As Lefcardia counted the toll, she could hear the ring was louder and sweeter than usual.

Lefcardia drew a deep breath.  She  liked the smell of snow, and then wondered to herself how exactly did snow smell.  She sniffed little sniffs.  She sniffed another deep breathe.  Snow smells cold, thought Lefcardia, but cold is not really a smell.  And then she thought, yes!  The air doesn’t smell like anything at all.  It doesn’t smell like dirt or rotting leaves or animals.  Snow covers all the smells of the woodlands. The smell of snow is the smell of nothing at all.    

Lefcardia wanted to run outside and find out just what kind of snow had fallen.  She had read that eskimos had 50 different words for snow, and Lefcardia understood why.  Every snowfall was different.  Was this sticky snow good for building a snowman and making snow balls? Or was this a powdery snow good for sledding?  You can’t make snow balls with powdery snow, and you really can’t sled on sticky snow.  Before Lefcardia planned her day, she would have to find out what kind of snow had fallen.  

Also, she wanted to know if the temperature was melting the snow or a freezing the snow.  This would also affect her plans.  She looked up to the sky for a clue.  Sometimes, clouds tell a story.  Today, the sky was a solid, very light gray color, and offered no clue about the weather forecast.

Oh, there is so much to do, thought Lefcardia, not wanting to miss any opportunity.  She pulled her journal from her bed table, and clicked open her pen.

Suddenly, Lefcardia remembered the flower.  Yesterday she had seen a tender blossom with fiery yellow fingers bursting out of the witch hazel.  Witch hazel is the first shrub in the woodlands to bloom, bravely daring Spring to follow.  Spring, of course, will not arrive for another two months.  Imagine that.  Spring will not arrive until mid March, and here in mid January, the witch hazel is already blooming.  What happens to a tender blossom when it is covered with bitter snow?  Lefcardia intended to find out.

witch hazel flower
Yellow flower on a Witch Hazel shrub blooms in mid January.

When snow falls from the skies

Trees change before your eyes

Snow will change the sound of bells

Snow will change the way air smells

When the heavens let loose white powder

What becomes of the tender Flower?

Lefcardia, January 28

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