It was winter.
There was snow on the ground.
It shone captivatingly in the sun and crunched beneath my little feet. At 3-years-old, I could think of no more delightful activity than to sit in one of these snow drifts, pulling handfuls of frozen water toward me until they piled up into small mounds.
I didn’t know what I was making, but I was enjoying the process—every so often taking a taste of the small clumps of snow sticking to the palms of my mittens.
This caught the eye of my older sister.
With her two years of seniority, she instructed me harshly not to eat the yellow snow.
“Why not?” I asked.
“Just don’t do it,” she replied, “right mom?”
“That’s right,” my mother said, her shovel scraping against the walkway, “don’t eat the yellow snow.”
“Just don’t eat it!”
A crease formed between my eyebrows and my jaw clenched.
If there’s one thing anyone should know about me, it’s that more than anything, I like to know the “why” behind pretty much everything. I want to know the cause of every effect, the purpose of every action, and the biological or mechanical underpinnings of every object or process I encounter.
Blind acceptance, while sometimes necessary, is very frustrating.
And, of course, if there are two things anyone should know about me, then the second thing is that I have a habit of learning things the hard way.
I glanced around until I found a patch of yellow snow.
I scooped some up.
I tasted it.
It tasted pretty much the same as regular snow, except with more of an earthy flavor, something I couldn’t quite place.
Once again, I caught the eye of my older sister.
“Ew—stop that!” she screeched, “Mom! Barbara’s eating yellow snow!”
“Barbara!” my mom shouted, “stop eating that! It’s–”
After my mother completed her sentence, I pushed aside an instant of shame, and then, with self-righteous indignation, I spat out the snow.
It served them right to be disgusted.
(C) 2022 Barbara Gray – no content may be used or reproduced without permission of the author.