Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Snow Diamonds

The year? 1980--something. I don't actually recall. Although that is the year that I began to refer to the sparkles in snow as 'Snow Diamonds'.
It came about on a very cold winter night just outside Balsam Lake, Wisconsin. This was the year I learned who my father was.
Silly? No, I grew up with him. He was a part of my entire life. But this was the night that I met him for who and what he was. This night, this cold bitter night, we created a special bond that we'd never had before.

Dad loved cross country skiing. After he retired he picked up the sport and I was already doing it. I'd brought my skiis on this visit. In the middle of the night as planned, he woke me up. There was a full moon shining clear in the sky.
The thermometer read -15 degrees. We got our skiing clothes on and headed out. Dad had a planned route that would take us to Half Moon Lake where we would ski undisturbed by ice fisherman or people. We would glide through the night like ghosts under a full moon.
Our breaths rose in a mist as we skiied and we talked. About what exactly I don't remember. It didn't matter we were doing something we both loved dearly. We were doing something for fun and we were doing it an an outrageous time of day...
the middle of the night!
And in subzero temperatures.

We got on to Half Moon Lake and began to stroke and ski our way from one end to the other. I think Dad said to ski the whole length would only be 6 miles. Suddenly below our feet came a huge boom that echoed eerily through the night air. I recall cursing. Dad laughed.
It was the 'ice booming'. Then it groaned like it was in pain.
Dad said this was normal. I took his word for it but still winced each time the lake echoed and groaned under our skis.

About midway across the lake we stopped for a rest and leaned on our poles. This is really the only part of that night that I can recall exactly what we had said to each other.

I pointed to the glistening snow and the sparkles that were made by the bright moonlight.
*Look Dad, look at that, doesn't it look like diamonds?*
He was silent for a moment, then said, *By God you're right. Diamonds. I never thought of it like that. Good description.*
I looked at him and he smiled at me.
I said, *We've got our own Diamonds in the Snow don't we Dad?*
*Yes we do.* Was his answer.

From then on, *Snow Diamonds* was our secret little way of referring to that incredible night on Half Moon Lake.
That magical night where I made a connection with my father like no other.

Yesterday when I drove to work, the sun sparkled on the snow so brightly that I found *Snow Diamonds*.
I had to stop the care and get out and take a picture.
The frosty air and the bright reflections in the snow took me back.

Every time I see these reflections I feel whisked back to that night.
The night of the *Snow Diamonds*.


Niki said...

Very nice story. Thanks.

Val said...

Welcome Niki, thanks for reading it.