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  • Rachel Welcher

Snow & Screaming Tea Kettles

Snow & Screaming Tea Kettles

Winter snow piles up on the sides
of the roads in the Dakotas from
November until February; remnants
of the first plow, starting out soft and
kind. Children mow down the piles
with shrieks of delight, and people in
cars know to drive a little slower.

When winter is new, it is beautiful.

Then the sun comes out. Just for a day.
And the miniature mountains start to melt,
mixing with loose asphalt, mud, and dried leaves.
They freeze again that night, creating grimy peaks
of sharp, dirty ice. The kids stop playing on them.
Cars drive carelessly over the slush and bump with
annoyance over the hard ice, and they remain an
unsightly reminder that winter is a song
that no one wants to sing anymore.

Inside, the air grows stale, and a friend texts
me: “What if this never heals?” and we try
our best to get excited over cocoa and
Christmas movies, but really, we just want to
step out into the sun with bare feet and not
freeze to death. So we take up crafting. And
calling people on the phone - something we
never thought we would do in 2022. But this
is what desperation looks like. Frozen hands
wincing under a warm faucet. Baby cheeks
chapped with pink and wind. And a tea kettle
screaming just loud enough to thaw our hearts
for a moment. It takes effort to stay warm,
and some of us are so tired that we create
metaphorical pillow forts and hibernate inside
them until we become feral from the isolation.

It’s time to put on our boots and a warm cap.
It’s time to brave the cold and remember what
it means to appreciate every season.
The tracks we leave in the snow will be quickly
scuffed up and covered over and made so dirty that
we don't have to spend ourselves trying to prove our
worth or make a mark. It is enough, beloved, just to
walk a slow path and appreciate a winter tree,
with its skeleton branches: bare, brave, and golden.

Cover image by Daniel Bowman.


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