Footprints in the Snow
Lindy pulled her woolen scarf tighter around her neck. The air was frigid, and the winter wind pounded her feathered face relentlessly, but still the red Lenny did not retreat. Despite the best efforts of the December day to defeat her, Lindy merely brushed the snowflakes off her scarf, tied it more firmly, and reached for another wingful of snow.
She couldn’t see far across the whitewashed landscape. Happy Valley was in the middle of a snowstorm, and the only things that Lindy could see were the Christmas lights on her house shining dimly through the cloud of snow that fell in heavy flakes, covering the Lenny’s front yard in a cold, white blanket. The only other visible object in the yard was Lindy’s snowman, which was nearly complete.
As the temperature continued to drop, Lindy placed another layer of snow on top of her creation, smoothing it out and rounding off all of the rough edges with her red feathers. The snowman’s head had to be perfect, and Lindy had spent so much time already that she was not about to quit now. Once the third large snowball was deemed complete, Lindy took a step back.
The snowman was perfect. Each of his three bodily layers was nicely-rounded and smooth. She had already placed bits of coal down his chest to form buttons and wrapped a red scarf around his neck. Lindy had retrieved two long sticks for his arms, and now all she needed to do was complete his face. After that, she would allow herself to go inside and sit by the fire, admiring her work from the window.
Lindy reached down and brushed some snow away near her feet. The supplies she had brought outside with her had nearly been buried by the swiftly-falling snow. The Lenny gingerly retrieved the pile of coals and, selecting only the roundest ones, proceeded to place the snowman’s eyes and mouth.
After she was finished, Lindy grabbed the long orange carrot, which had nearly been frozen to the ground. She stood away from the snowman for a moment, judging the best placement for his nose, and then carefully inserted the vegetable into his face. Lindy brushed some excess snow away, and then placed a hat on her snowman’s head.
Finished, at last. The snowstorm was beginning to let up, and the snow began to fall a bit thinner on the white ground. Lindy pulled her woolen scarf tighter around her neck once more. She was finished. Before her, in her front yard, lay a work of art finer than anything that could be placed on exhibition in a museum. This snowman was of a different sort of beauty.
After a few minutes of adoration, Lindy decided to go inside. Satisfied with her work, she collected the unused bits of coal from the ground and began to walk toward her house, using the brightly-colored Christmas lights as a guide.
Lindy couldn’t help but break into a smile. Every year, she had built a snowman in the yard, and every year the neighbors would always stop by and compliment her on it. This year, she would have the best snowman in town, and it would be all because of her own hard work. She deserved a rest. Lindy could already taste the hot chocolate as she hurried toward the door.
“Hey, Lindy!” The Lenny turned and was met promptly with a snowball sandwich. Her face was already numb from the cold air, but the icy projectile stung her cheeks nonetheless. Lindy was nearly knocked off her feet, and she stumbled back, dropping the coal pieces from her wings.
A yellow Grundo, bundled up from head to toe, emerged through the snow. He was wearing a woolen hat, scarf, heavy jacket, mittens, snow pants, and boots that separated to contain his two toes. For someone who thought he was so cool, he sure liked to keep warm. “Right in the kisser,” he giggled, pointing at Lindy’s white-pasted beak with a mittened finger. “What a shot!”
“Doyle!” cried Lindy, wiping the snow away. “What is your problem?”
“My problem is that you’re an idiot,” said Doyle, sniggering once more at his clever sense of humor. “Why are you standing here in the middle of a blizzard anyway? Did you forget which house is yours?”
Lindy rolled her eyes. “I was just going inside,” she said. “I was building a snowman, if you have to know.” She flashed him a sneer. “I’m sure it’s better than yours.”
Doyle frowned. “I’m a better snowman builder than you are!” he said, stomping one two-toed boot. “I bet your snowman looks like a snow cone!” He smirked.
“Yeah, well I bet yours looks like you were trying to make a self portrait, only you thought you were painted marshmallow,” said Lindy. “I’m going inside.”
Lindy promptly scooped up the coals that she had dropped, turned on her heel, and began walking away. Doyle’s yellow cheeks turned red and he shouted, “Well, you know what your snowman looks like now?”
Lindy turned to see the bundled-up Grundo make a rush for her sculpture. Before the red Lenny could even react, Doyle had jumped up and ripped the carrot right off of the snowman’s face. “Hey!” said Lindy, throwing the coals aside. “Cut it out!”
But Doyle was not finished. As soon as he saw that Lindy was upset, he broke into a grin. He took a bite out of the carrot and tossed it aside. Lindy was taking long strides in his direction, but Doyle still had enough time for one more move. With all of the strength the Grundo could muster, he put his hands on the snowman’s midsection and pushed.
“No!” screamed Lindy, but it was too late. She had made the snowballs so smooth that the middle and top ones slid gently off of the base, falling to the ground with a dull thud. They crumbled to bits, and now Lindy was left with only a big snowball, pieces of coal, and a bitten carrot.
“Now your snowman looks like a snowball,” said Doyle. “Oh, wait. He is only a snowball!”
Lindy didn’t say anything. She merely ran up to her ruined sculpture and shoved the Grundo out of the way. The Lenny bent over the remains of the two snowballs that had fallen, in hopes that perhaps they could be repaired, but as her wings brushed against the snow, she could see that she would have to start all over again.
The Lenny turned her head away from the sight and met the eyes of the Grundo who was standing next to her. “Go home,” she said in a voice that was colder than the blizzard itself. The snow continued to fall, and a fine layer had accumulated on Doyle’s woolen hat. He was no longer smiling. “Go home,” repeated Lindy, still bending over the ruins of her snowman.
Doyle stared at her. The color had gone from his cheeks, and he looked sorry and a little scared. But the Grundo said nothing, and after a few moments of silence, he turned away. Lindy watched him walk away through the snow until she could no longer see him, only the whiteness of the blanketed front yard, marred by a few pieces of coal and a bitten carrot.
“Lindy, it’s time to go to bed.”
The Lenny straightened up at the sound of her mother’s voice. She turned to stare at the colored Christmas lights that marked the location of her house, on the other side of the yard.
Lindy cast a final look at the lone snowball, with the coal pieces scattered around it. Tomorrow, all of the other yards would have happy snowmen standing in them, after the big blizzard. ...All of the other yards, except Lindy’s.
The Lenny tightened her woolen scarf around her neck, and began walking toward the brightly-colored lights.
* * * * *
The next morning, the snowstorm had ended. Lindy woke up before everyone else and went downstairs. She got dressed to go outside, tying her woolen scarf tightly around her neck. The Lenny decided that she might give it another try and attempt to make a new snowman. But in her heart, she knew it wouldn’t be the same.
Lindy opened the door and stepped out into the cold air. The whole world was covered in a veil of snow, and everything was white and sparkling as far as the Lenny could see. Normally, she enjoyed these winter mornings, but with no snowman in her yard, the effect was ruined.
Lindy’s gaze fell upon her own white yard, and she blinked. There, right where she had been working on her own yesterday, was a snowman. Lindy was taken aback, and she hurried through the deep snow to see if it was real.
It was. Three perfectly round snowballs sat one on top of the other, lined down the front with little bits of coal as buttons. Two sticks were placed for arms, and more coal made up two eyes and a mouth, topped by a woolen hat. And there, right in the center, was a carrot with the tip bitten off.
Lindy couldn’t believe it. She stepped back, and looked down. There were no coal pieces on the ground anymore. All that Lindy could see was a fresh trail of two-toed footprints in the snow.