Snow Banked Dragon
Big, white, wet, fluffy snowflakes floated down so thickly I couldn’t see the house next door. It was so sparkly, so clean, so beautiful. But what made me really smile was the sight of my car being completely covered by snow. Well, that and there was no evidence of any snowplough coming to clean my side street any time soon. I wouldn’t be able to go anywhere. I would be forced to take a day off just to be. For one day, I could just stay put, sit down, read a book, relax, go for a stroll in the massive snow dunes outside. How I welcomed this break!
After doing a few basic chores and drinking a hot chocolate, I decided that it was the perfect time, not for starting to shovel my way out of my driveway and relocate my car, but for going for a walk in all that clean, sparkling, pristine, white brightness.
The thought of being chased by a city street snowplough made me laugh. Although those ploughs, or rather their drivers, are ruthless in their quest to move snow and travel at full throttle regardless of who and what lies in their path, I knew it would be exhilarating to have a bit of a chase ending with me throwing myself head first into a fresh snow bank on somebody’s lawn. And then there would be the fun of trying to pull myself up and out of the snow bank. This was the kind of snow that made you fall time and again as you manoeuvred through a snow bank. Odd as it may sound, this actually is my idea of a ton of fun.
As I pulled on my snow pants, tucking my extra sweater into them, I heard the strangest sound. It started out as a deep hum, almost like a kitten’s purr, but much deeper and louder. A couple of yelps sounded once in a while. Then it all stopped.
By the time I got my mittens and toque on, the deep hum returned, louder than ever. It was accompanied by three yaps, a bark, and a long howl, three yaps, a bark, and a long howl.
The first thought I had? Some cat and dog were stuck in the snow. The second thought? Some snowplough scraped a cat and a dog and they, the cat and the dog, not the snowplough, were injured and calling for help. Someone had to find them and help them out. I was just the person to do it. After all, I was already dressed to go out in the snow dunes.
I walked and walked. Actually, I trudged and trudged as I climbed through the soft and wet snow. I had forgotten how hard it is to get through snow like this, but I didn’t mind. Not really. It was invigorating. Positive thinking: that’s what got me through a lot of things in my life.
Anyway, I pulled myself through the snow towards the deep hum-yap-bark-howl. It took me almost two hours to travel a block and a half. I plopped down in the snow to catch my breath. As I lay there in the snow, the yapping-barking-howling stopped. The deep purr-like hum was very loud, though.
I thought of closing my eyes momentarily. Let me clarify this. I wanted to close my eyes just for a moment because I was exhausted. The time spent thinking about closing my eyes was just for a short moment because two things interrupted it. The first interruption came from reason, which told me that if I were to close my eyes, even for a fraction of a second, I would fall asleep because I was just so tired from all that trudging and climbing. And then I’d freeze to death. Or get run over by a city snowplough. Or both. The second interruption, which grabbed my attention in midstream of the first interruption, was a warm, wet drool that splattered across my face as if a bucket of warm, gelatinous water had been emptied on me. It caused me to sit up so fast the snow bank hadn’t the sense to pull me back deeper down into its hold as yet another thought, the one that had me blurt out, “What the—” at full volume, smothered all cognisance of current location, time, and space. That is what I mean by “I thought of closing my eyes momentarily”.
Anyway, I took off my right mitten to wipe the stuff off my face. The last thing I wanted was for my face to get frostbite from all that water freezing directly on me. I wiped and wiped, but it didn’t come off like water. Like I said, it had that gelatinous quality to it, something like petroleum jelly mixed in water, but even thicker and stickier. For some reason, it reminded me of dog drool. So, I shoved my right hand into the snow beside me and rolled it around and around, hoping I was getting the stuff off my hand in the very least.
As I busied myself with my hand, a long piece of the roughest sandpaper with that gelatinous gooey water attached to it hit the bottom of my face and went straight up, leaving me temporarily unable to breathe as it covered my mouth and nose simultaneously. Disbelief, shock, or the sheer physical force of that sandpaper sent me flying back into the snow so I was now lying down looking up at the grey sky that continued to drop huge, floppy, wet snowflakes upon the world beneath it.
Positive thinking. I had to retain that well-learned power of positive thinking. I tried and tried, but my positive thinking became rather skewed. The only thing I was positive about at that moment, which seemed to last nearly an eternity—quite unlike the moment I considered closing my eyes—was my inevitable death. Yes, with all this beautiful snow forcing me to actually take a day off work, I was positive I was going to die. The question was how.
The possible methods of meeting my final death included:
- Being slobbered with gelatinous gloop by giant-sized sandpaper that easily could render bricks as slippery as those shiny rocks smoothed over eons by the ocean;
- Freezing to death in this impossible-to-pull-myself out of snow bank;
- Being ploughed by the city snowplough;
- Surviving being ploughed by the city snowplough only to be trapped with six feet of snow above me, six feet below, all the while facing down while believing I am facing up.
Yes, positive thinking had me believing that my last day alive was marked by a snowstorm that ensured no differentiation between my lawn, my driveway, and the road. A snowstorm that gently poured big, white, fluffy snowflakes down upon the world. A snowstorm that buried me alive after I nearly discovered and saved a cat and a dog that had also been trapped by the storm’s gift.
With positive thinking like that, I figured, “Why not just close my eyes—even if only for a moment?” So, I did.
Just as soon as I did, I wished I hadn’t. That humming purr turned into this whinier-than-you-could-possibly-imagine whine directed completely in my left ear—my good ear. It was accompanied by a rubbing of ticklish fur, something like a stubby beard that needs to be shaved off.
Open my eyes? Keep them closed? Open my eyes? Keep them closed? Heavens. I was as good as dead anyway according to my current positive thinking. There would be no more harm done by opening them.
A long, furry neck stretched above me across my face. I followed it with my eyes and ended up turning towards the scratchy fur on my left. It pulled its head back a bit. Not so much that I could see well, but enough for me to see its furry face; the dog-like nose and muzzle; the big sad, tired-looking brown eyes of a cocker spaniel; the big, floppy, droopy mutt-like ears. The only thing I could think of was that infamous question “What the—”.
Whimper, whimper, whine, whine. It sure sounded like a dog right then. Taking a deep breath, I realized it really did look like a dog. Except this dog was massive! Its head was almost as big as my entire body! It stopped whining and started doing its purr-like hum while its tongue dangled out of its mouth. It panted simultaneously. It looked like there were two little stubs of antlers on the top of its head, like those you see on a fawn. That made no sense at all.
I rolled myself out of the snow, took a few steps back, straightened myself up, and looked at this creature. It was bigger than the house behind it. Its feet were buried deep within the snow and so was a lot of its body. I wasn’t sure if it was standing or lying down. It started to whine again.
“Okay, what’s wrong?” I asked the creature. More whining came as the reply. Was it hurt? Or was this massive antlered dog that could purr just stuck in the snow? I’d never know if it were hurt without trying to get it out of the snow bank so, using my hands, I started to dig the snow away from the giant creature.
I dug and dug and dug. Snow flew out and landed with huge thuds behind me. The creature stopped whining while I did this. Instead, it panted and hummed a purring song, dropping gelatinous gloop underneath its muzzle and into the snow.
I had never been so happy to see the snow let up. I had never been so happy to see the creature’s ankles. And both happened at the same time.
But I couldn’t believe it. That thing had been lying down in the snow all day while I dug and dug. I’m sure it could have just stood up. Yet it had decided just to lie there and wait for me to dig it out.
It stood up. It bent down. It gave me one more lick and galloped down the street. The furry beast, with bird feet and a long, furry, wagging tail, leapt in the air. It spread its two huge black and white striped wings. Within two flaps, I heard its hum-yap-bark-howl again. It circled back towards me. It swooped down. What was it doing? Was it going to snatch me up? Was it going to kill me after I got it out of the snow? Was it going to kill me off once and for all? No. It swooped down towards me, licked me with its rougher than rough sandpaper tongue from the bottom of my boots to the top of my toque. And then, with a laugh like a cat laughing at you because it had just played a trick on you, it blew a massive red and orange flame from its mouth, melting all the snow on the street behind me in less than five seconds!
Why hadn’t it thought of melting the snow around him instead of whining all day long and lying about in the snow like it had? First reaction? Dumb dog. But wait. Dogs don’t fly. And they don’t purr. What exactly was that creature? I wanted a closer look. Sure, now I want a closer look. Talk about missed opportunities! It was gone already.
I stood there in the snow bank looking down the now snow-depraved street, looking up in the sky. That dog-cat-antlered-winged creature was pretty high up by then. It swooped and swirled in the sky so gracefully, just like a dragon.
Had I actually spent the day with a dragon? And what type of dragon was it? I wonder if I’ll ever run into it again.
Witness: Doug Laberindien