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12-15-06 | Snow (1 Viewer)

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silverwriter

Either you love it or you hate it, but if you live in certain parts of the world, it's there whether you like it or not. With global warming, the idea of winters with no snow in places there was always snow becomes more prominant.

Imagine a time when snow is just a myth grandparents tell their grandchildren. Write me that myth.

The LM is going to be more of a loose one - poetry or prose, no more than 500 words - to get your creativity flowing.

I realize the holidays are here and things will be busy, so I've extended all times by a little bit.

Submissions open: Now
Submissions close and judging starts: Dec 31st
Judging ends: January 9th
Scores posted: January 10th

All times are going on +10 Australia time.

The judges are:

Wyndstar (if she remembers she volunteered)
Journyman
Hawke
TsuTseQ
Chris Miller (if he doesn't mind his involuntary placement in the judge's corner)
and me, of course

The aim for this one is to get your creativity going. Make it funny, make it sarcastic, or make it sweet.

Thank you to everyone who participates and to the judges.

**The judges are allowed to participate.**
 
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MrPenguin589

Senior Member
A contest? I guess I might as well enter. I warn you, though, my story won't be the best. But I might as well. Better than doing nothing.
493 words, including the title.

*********

A Histoty Lesson

"Grandpa, what's this?"

Grandpa looked and saw Michael holding up a snowglobe he had apparently found in the toy box. Such things were not normally in there, such things did not belong there, and Grandpa, had he not been heavily sedated at the time, would have might quite a terrible fuss. Instead, he smiled.

"It's a snowglobe, son." He replied in his old, deep, rustic voice. Grandpa had been a newscaster in his day, and still had the voice for it, except he was a couple decades past his prime now. Oh, the grand days of the twenty-third century. How he missed them so.

"A what globe?"

Grandpa, though he didn't really know it, hated that voice. It was small and whiney, and sounded like a small furry woodland creature being tortured. Grandpa really hoped that one day Michael's voice would descend to something below a soprano.

"A snow globe. Here, shake it." Grandpa reached out his hands for it, though he had told Micael to shake it. Grandpa oftentimes forgot exactly what he was doing, but the kids didn't seem to notice.

Michael shook it and stared blankly at the small, white confetti that sprinkled about inside. He looked up at his Grandpa.

"I don't get it." He said in the whiney voice that only a spoiled brat could use. Grandpa hated it, oh yes he did.

"It's snow? You see?" Grandpa's voice was understanding and loving, despite the thoughts in his head.

"What's snow?" Oh, that voice... And now, such a question. But he did not know, did he? No, Grandpa realized, he didn't.

"Well I'll tell you." Grandpa began. "Once, a long time ago, there used to be times when during the winter, small pieces of ice" (his voice accented the word like it was the most important thing in the world) "fell from the sky and covered the ground."

"Why, Grandpa? Why did that happen?"

"Because back then, it could get cold. Very cold. You've seen rain, haven't you?"

Michael nodded. Of course he had. Silly Grandpa, how could he never have seen rain? He was only six, but sure, he'd seen plenty of rain.

"Well, the rain would freeze in the air, and fall to the ground. People back then would play in the snow, and have fun, but it also cause problems."

"I'm sure getting hit by this snow wasn't fun." Michael was fascinated by the story, as short and undetailed as it was. Ice? Falling from the sky? That was unheard of.

"Oh now," Grandpa said, "snow is... or was... as soft as a feather. You could hardly feel it. But sometimes, it could stack up very high, and not allow people to drive on the streets."

"Wow." Michael was impressed. Rain didn't stack up. No way no how. But he did have one last question...

"Grandpa?" Oh, how he hated that voice. He hated he hated he...

"Yes Michael?"

"What are roads?"
 
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SkullFarmer

Senior Member
[ot]Mr. Penguin, you have to stop being self deprecating, you sound like Eeyore when he lost his tail :wink: I really liked your story, very engaging and very nice twist at the end -SF[/ot]
 

MrPenguin589

Senior Member
[ot]Well, I was just saying what I said as I had looked through the other contests and seen a lot of good writing, and decided mine paled in comparison. Besides, I put it together in only like ten minutes, with no real thought as to where I was going with it. And it's not really self deprecating, I was just saying it wasn't the best. If it was, it would be getting published and I'd be rich. And so ends my min-rant of self-defense. :D[/ot]
 

rboy27

Senior Member
I went a little off track with this one, but I think it still qualifies. If not, I can rewrite it...for the fourth time today. :p

496 words, not including the title.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Snow Man

One unusually cool December night, two young boys, Jeremiah and Ishmael, ascended the beaten gravel path towards the great fortress. What they had heard lay inside varied from horrific tales of torture to dark, satanic rituals. Though many were curious enough to want to venture inside and silence the mystery once and for all, none were foolish enough.

None except for Jeremiah and Ishmael.

The door was heavy, so intensely heavy, in fact, that it took the strength of both boys to crack it open. With a hearty heave and a deafening squeal, the oxidized iron latches opened for the first time in many a year. They had no choice but to enter the fortress, the intensely low pressure literally pulled them inside. The boys had never felt such a chilling cold before. Even more shocking was the fine, white powder they found covering the floors. It looked like sand, but when Jeremiah picked it up, he noticed it was cold and wet. Within seconds, the mysterious element melted in his hands, becoming water.

From beyond a tall spiral staircase came the sound of crashing metal. The boys were scared enough without having to hear the deranged cackle of a madman.

“They laughed, said it was impossible, but now the world will marvel at my genius!”

Ishmael walked up the winding staircase first, each step slower and heavier than the last. Halfway to the top, the temperature had dropped to well below freezing. The boys shook, their lips turned blue.

What they found at the top, hunched over and facing a large open window, chilled the very hearts of their souls; a lumbering beast covered from head to toe in hair, long and scraggly. Jeremiah let out a gasp, a very foolish move. The beast turned its shoulder quickly to the right, its face still obscured.

“Who’s there?” said the beast in an oddly feeble voice.

The boys wanted to run, but were paralyzed with fear.

The beast turned around and shed his layers of fur. It was no beast at all, just a weak, old man dressed in a full length coat.

“How would you boys like to help me change the world?” he said, revealing the large mechanical monstrosity behind him.

The boys didn’t trust the old man. What could he have made? A nuclear weapon? A deadly ray gun?

“Suit yourselves” he said. With the flip of a switch, the machine was set into action. The rumbling was terrible; it seemed that the floor would surely break under its weight.

“Have you boys ever seen…snow?” Right on cue, the mysterious white powder Jeremiah held downstairs spewed out of the contraption and onto the unsuspecting town below.

“What have you done? What is this!?”

The boys knew what had to be done. Picking up a screwdriver from the nearby workbench, Jeremiah dove at the feeble old man, driving it deep into his temple while Ishmael ran and turned off the machine.

Winter was saved.
 
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silverwriter

[ot]I don't know about the other judges, but I tend to not look at entries (just off topic comments) before judging starts, so if you should try to be sure on your own if it qualifies or not. It's a pretty straight and clear subject, I think.[/ot]
 
Memory of a Moment

A single snowflake drifted free of a galaxy of swirling white specs and landed on Elissa’s outstretched hand. For a moment it twinkled bright as a child’s eye, before falling away like a teardrop onto the snowy landscape.

‘Why don’t we have this any more, daddy? Elissa asked.

‘It was not our fault, Elissa-baby. Some greedy men ate up all the snow, long ago. But you can still see snow here, can’t you love?’

Elissa watched the snowflakes dance above her head and tried to follow them. They looked as if they were playing with each other, chasing and joining together in an endless game. The snow raced around Elissa’s ears, whispering to her.

‘Will snow ever come back home?’ she asked.

Elissa’s father walked over to his daughter, crushing the snow under his black boots. The snow seemed to whimper beneath his heavy footsteps. The father grasped Elissa’s hand but the grip felt cold and officious to the young girl.

‘Not real snow, no. Maybe they’ll recreate snow like this to fall over the entire city. Would you like that?’ The father’s voice grated against the soft susurration of the snow.

‘I would like to stay in this world forever and never return to the city.’

The father laughed. ‘Don’t be silly, Elissa. This is costing me good money to show you this holoscape. Don’t grumble, you’ve still got 4 minutes left. Enjoy it!

Elissa gasped and pulled her hand free of her father. She ran up the slope of nearby hillock, leaving her father shaking his head in confusion. Snowflakes smothered her face in kisses as she rushed toward the top of the small hill.

She looked over the other side of the hill and was confronted by the sight of the grey metal walls of the holoscape, leering at her through the dancing snowflakes. She plonked herself down on a slab of snow-painted rock and buried her face in her raincoat, sobbing.

‘We’re so sorry,’ Elissa said quietly. ‘Please forgive us and come back. What is this world without you?’ The snow continued to flock around her, as if seeking sanctuary in the folds of her clothes and the tangle of her hair.

There was a sudden clunking sound and Elissa looked up, frightened. The snow was gone and all was left was an empty, metal hemisphere. Only her tears were left to remind her of the dancing snowflakes.
 

seawings

Senior Member
THE MAGICAL GIFT OF SNOW
455 Words

Living in the Deep South, where it “may” snow every ten years, a young child may be in their teens before ever seeing snow. They can only imagine its magical wonders, watching people on television, with a warm fire cracking in the fireplace, laughing as they bundle up in their snow suits, then happily romping in the snow...it seems so appealing.

Snow, it’s the magical ingredient in a Norman Rockwell painting, or a Robert Frost poem.

Whose woods these are I think I know,
His house is in the village though.
He will not see me stopping here,
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

It “is” fun, as long as you are in control of the activity. Reality is that it can be wet, cold and uncomfortable once it gets inside your clothing. Reality is that it can break tree limbs, break off your gutters and cause heart attacks while shoveling heavy wet snow off the driveway.

But that’s an adult view, and somewhat negative! It’s more interesting to look at snow through the eyes of the young, with their imagination and in a more picturesque way.

Snowflakes come out of the clouds as delightful and intricate gifts, each shaped differently and drifting lazily down to join those already covering the landscape with a soft sparkling cover. Snow covers the ugly remnants of fall, the un-raked leaves, bare bushes and trees with their soft velvety blanket, as if giving everything a fresh coat of paint.

My little horse must think it queer,
To stop without a farmhouse near,
Between the woods and frozen lake,
The darkest evening of the year.

Snow muffles sound and makes even traffic noises seem softer. I recall the only sounds heard up and down the street were the muted scraping of snow shovels, and the occasional thud of snow falling off limbs or sliding off the roof. Snow had insulated the world against cacophonous sound.

He gives his harness bells a shake,
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep,
Of easy wind and downy flake.

Snow can be played with, unlike the grass clipping of summer or golden leaves in the fall. Snow is tactile, you can make snow balls, build snowmen, and falling into the snow you can make snow angles.

Snow has its realities; however, magically it evokes creativity, like paintings or poems; in young and old alike.

What a pity more can not experience its joys.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
Robert Frost
 
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rboy27

Senior Member
silverwriter said:
[ot]I don't know about the other judges, but I tend to not look at entries (just off topic comments) before judging starts, so if you should try to be sure on your own if it qualifies or not. It's a pretty straight and clear subject, I think.[/ot]

[ot]I wasn't actually serious about rewriting it, that's why I put that smily face at the end. Whether I did it to relive the weight of all that time on 500 words or simply because I'm a self-promoting jerk is up for you to decide. :)[/ot]
 

JK_Wannabe

Senior Member
Snow... I Think I Remember That... (Word Count: 471, Excluding Title)

Ellie was ecstatic; she loved seeing her grandchildren's faces light up as they received their Christmas gifts. All the technogadgets were fascinating to her. They were so far beyond what she grew up with that even though she was considered tech-savvy, maybe even geeky in her time, she couldn't figure out how to work these contraptions.

When 5-year old Ian crawled into Ellie's lap and sat on one leg while little Lisa sat on the other, she knew what they were going to say next. Ian put on his adorable face and began to beg. "Tell us a stowy, maw-maw!"

"Yeah, tell us a story!" Lisa chirped. "Tell us one like great-grandmamma Gail used to tell us!"

Once her mother had passed away, Ellie had taken on the responsibility of sharing stories with the grandkids. They couldn't believe she was alive in a time when there was no Gravpit Gamebox, or when gas prices were under $2.00 a gallon. "Okay, what kind of story do you want to hear?"

Lisa, in all her eight years of wisdom, spoke up in a tone that demanded attention. "Sam Hubbard said a long time ago, sometimes it got cold and little white things would fall out of the sky and stick to the ground and stuff. He said it was like a hundred years ago or something! I said nuh-uh!"

"Maw-maw, is that twue?" Ian asked.

Ellie sighed in disbelief. "Well, it wasn't a hundred years ago... more like fifty. Sometimes, when it was thirty-two..." her grandchildren were staring at her wide-eyed, and she remembered that they grew up with the celsius system. "Er... I mean zero... degrees or lower, those 'little white things' would fall from the sky. It was called snow. I don't remember it all that well, because the last time I saw some was in 2011... or 12... or something..."

Ian looked confused. "How come I've never seen any?"

It just about broke Ellie's heart. "Fifty years ago is a long time, sweetie. The world's a lot different now than it was then. I tell you what-tomorrow I'll come over with a home movie, and I'll show you what snow was, okay?"

"Okay, maw-maw!" Ian instantly responded. He added a hug, and Lisa followed suit.

"I'm glad we have a maw-maw that tells us great stories like you do." Lisa said.

Ellie hugged them again and gave them each a peck on the cheek. "I'm glad I have the best grandkids that ever lived! Now go on and play with your new presents already!" As they ran off, Ellie recalled more distant memories of snow. She wished she could give them some of their very own to play with. What other things, in spite of all the great new technology they were exposed to, would they never get to experience?
 

cacafire

Senior Member
Mother Gady

[ot]I've entered every recent LM competition, but I've really never given it more attention that a five minute write-up, and it has showed. Well, I hope to redeem myself with this story. It's right up to the wire: 499 words. I put some decent consideration into it this time, and didn't just write off the top of my head. Enjoy![/ot]

:begin
Mother Gady
By Edwin Ramses

"Surely, this year it will come." old mama Gady whispered to her children as she slowly rocked back and forth on the wooden chair. The children talked amongst themselves, whispering with excitement now that the Christmas season had come. Once again, she spoke, to no one in particular: "It has come every year, children. It won't fail us, the snow..."

All the children had seen it, had felt the feathery fluff between their fingers. The older ones even remembered their first snowman, and they huddled around momma Gady, telling each other stories of the outside world. One child, one of the eldest, snuck out of the room, tiptoeing softly on the metallic carpet. He pushed the door open and walked outside, into the plaza.

Mama Gady's house bordered the plaza where the merchants hawked their wares; the kid walked along, looking at the stalls, and his hands shoved in his pockets.

"Global warming..."

"We can make snow!"

"Chipmunk flavored ramen, here!"

The voices of the crowd blended in as he walked, his face twisted in worry. He looked up at the sky, wondering if the snow would actually return this year. "Hmph!" He slammed his fist against a metal pole, covered in the tar that had accumulated throughout the year. Somebody tapped him on the shoulder.

"Sady..." He said when he saw her. She smiled that great toothy grin of hers.

"What, no hug, Damien?" She teased, smacking him on the lips. "How's mama Gady doing?"

The two walked along the stalls, occasionally looking at the TVs and expensive wares for sale. "Not too good. She's growing senile..." Sady nestled against Damien’s shoulder, reveling in his warmth. "I just wish the snow would come... It should have been here month's ago, and now, December’s almost over..."

Damien stopped, his hands balled into fists. Salty tears washed down his cheeks. "I just want her to have the snow... one last time..." Sady looked at him, and felt for him. She wanted to say something, anything, to cheer him up... but alas...

"Damien... do not worry. It's like the good book says," She lifted up his face so that he could see her, "without hope, we have nothing! The snow will come. I just know it will, before mama Gady passes away." Damien smiled, and kissed her.

"Thank you. Sady." The two walked together for the rest of the day, and when they came home, Damien rushed into mama Gady's room. "Momma! I brought you some...food..."

He walked up to her, where in the room she lay in her rocking chair. The children lay around, sleeping and dreaming dreams of snow, but Damien saw his mother and placed the food on the table. He wept, and sady stood by the door, not knowing how to comfort him. The boy placed his fingers to his mother's eyes, glassy and dead, and pressed them closed. He turned to sady,

"She's dead." he mumbled, his voice stretched tight, "My momma, she's dead."

:end: \\:D/

[ot] enjoy![/ot]
 

Fantasy of You

Senior Member
For Thing and Country, hey?


Anders: Well this is a damned shame, laddie. A damned shame indeed. Who’d have thought we’d be ruled by those aliens after all, hey? It should have been expected – survival of the fittest and all that. Bigger weapons, bigger shields, and I suspect bigger —

George: Indeed! A damned shame some others wanted this world, too. Yet I suppose there's no harm in it all, what with them letting us Brits fight them – it makes for damned interesting sport, wouldn’t you say, Charles?

Charles: Leave me alone, there’s a good chap.

George: Oh cease that moping, Charlieboy. Could have happened to the best of us! I can barely see the difference, laddie. Those alien chaps needed a spot of something to quench their appetites.

Charles: I have no legs!

Anders: Come, Charles. Be a good sport, they gave you crutches. And enough of this, you said you had a story with which to entertain us. To keep the boredom at bay and what not? Well, here’s you chance, laddie - before we have to leave.

Charles: For some reason, chaps, I’m just not in the mood for that. Perhaps when some limbs sprout from my—

Anders: That’s damned unsporting of you, Charles.

George: And intolerably crude.

Anders: Come, spin us a tale! Give us something to tell our hybrid children when they hatch. Although that male insemination thing looks damned distasteful, hey?

Charles: If it will hush you both for a moment, I suppose I have no choice in the matter. It will cost you chaps thirty pounds, nonetheless.

Anders: Thirty pounds! I implore you, take my damned eyes instead.

Charles: I’m in no mood for such stories, I warn you, so you’ll forgive my briefness on the matter. It came from the sky and did a jolly good job of messing things up.

Anders: You can spin one with the best of them, Charles…

George: Indeed. Do continue, Charles, this time with a change in tone, perhaps? Extremely rude of you, if I do say so.

Charles: I think you chaps fail to see the seriousness of having no legs.

George: Come, Charlieboy! What mess did this snow reek? Enlighten us, hey?

Charles: Well, it was damned unlucky for most chaps. Those that failed to freeze to death, they had it the worst. It was those that starved and killed and what not, they’re the ones that suffered. Those chaps that survived the immediate effects started things again, and eventually the snow disappeared.

George: Good God! That sounds like a damned annoyance, if I do say so, hey? Much worse than losing a pair of legs, too. Perish the thought we’d have to live in such a monstrous place. But look, chaps, it’s noon.

Anders: Pick up your weapons. You can continue your story when we are victorious, Charles? Let’s give these wish-we-were-invaders a lesson in British etiquette, hey?

George: Do a count, Anders. How many in the trench still have thier legs?





- Cheerio
 
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kagechaos

Senior Member
Mine is set up as though snow no longer exists. It used to, but due to Global warming, there is a period of time where there is no snow (enough years for a child to grow up without snow).

--------------------------------------------------

It was a bright, Wisconsin, December morning. The sun was shining, and very few clouds grazed the skies. Ben's mom and dad were taking him to grandpa's house for the weekend.

Upon arriving, Ben immediately ran to look through Grandpa’s old collection of movies. He still hadn’t seen most of them, as he didn’t get to go to Grandpa’s house very often.

Today, he happened to choose one that most people would find quite controversial, “Frosty the Snowman.”

Especially intrigued by the title, Ben asked, “What’s a snowman?”

Not thinking much of it, Grandpa answered, “A man made of snow.”

This is where the interrogation started, “What’s snow?”

Grandpa laughed, realizing that Ben didn’t know, “Oh, well..it’s like rain, except a long time ago, it used to snow in December and through March instead of raining.”

“So it comes from the sky?”

“Yes,” Grandpa showed Ben the cover of the movie, “See these white dots, that’s snow.” (I don’t know if there is actually snow falling on the “Frosty the Snowman” case.)

“Oh. Why doesn’t it fall anymore, Grandpa?”

“It’s too warm outside.”

“You mean it used to be colder?”

“Yes, quite a bit colder actually.”

“Wow, it’s hard to go outside in this cold, and it used to be colder still?”

“Yep.” Grandpa replied simply, yawning.

Grandpa seemed to be getting tired. That usually meant that he would fall asleep soon. Ben took the opportunity to take the movie and leave to watch it, saying, “I’m glad that it’s not so cold anymore; snow couldn’t be that great anyway.”

Grandpa grinned a bit, reclining in his chair, “Kids.”
 

cryptika

Senior Member
Ice Cream


Abigail scooted to the window. Flipping the switch to park, she felt Miriam’s hand at the back of her chair.

“It almost looks like snow,” said Miriam.

“Don’t be absurd. Snow never looked like that. This is just toxic waste, circling the air. Shreds of us.”

“Even at your age, you’re morbid, Abby. You need God – in a hurry. We’re not getting any younger. How can you remember what it looked like? We only went to the mountains that one year.”

“I’m not morbid. I’m a realist. It was ’93. Before Mum died.”

Miriam touched the glass. Flakes of ash dusted the window. “I remember - we went tobogganing. You stole Dad’s cigarettes and we sneaked out with that boy I liked.”

“I’d forgotten that. Did I ever tell you what he tasted like? Onions, and baby powder, and--”

“—chalk. And we ate a whole tube of toothpaste so Dad wouldn’t suspect we’d been smoking. But he knew. He always knew.”

Miriam’s grandson Ellis, bored with his video game, appeared beside her. “What’s so interesting?”

“Snow.” Miriam ruffled his hair.

Ellis shook his head. “Our teacher says snow’s lost to history books, like Tasmanian devils and pandas and rainforests. She’s never even seen it and she’s an old crone!”

“Ellis!”

Abigail laughed. “She must be forty. You know, Ellis, it used to snow up in the mountains every winter, not so long ago.”

His nose pressed against the glass. “Was it cold?”

“Very. Winter lasted from June until August.”

“In some countries,” said Miriam, “snow covered the ground and buildings all year round, like the ash does now.”

“One year, in the last year of snow,” said Abigail, “there was a blizzard. It was unheard of in Australia. We were snowed in! It buried people, even buildings. If you stayed outside too long, you turned into a snowman.”

Ellis studied them with raised eyebrows. “Our teacher says real snow came from You-rope. She says that here the snow melted before it hit the tops of trees.”

“That’s true. It snowed like this only once. That’s what made it magical.”

“The next year brought the Fires,” said Miriam. “But--”

“—before those Fires came and melted it, we would fill trailers with snow. We ate it when there wasn’t enough food.”

Facing the window again, Ellis’ tongue poked the glass. “What does snow taste like?”

“Water,” said Miriam.

“Ice cream,” said Abigail.

“What stories are you telling my son?” Catherine appeared in the doorway, frowning at her watch.

“White ones.” Abigail winked.

Miriam kissed her daughter. Then Catherine stooped for Abigail’s kiss.

“Ellis, get your things. Mummy’s late for an appointment. Mum, Abby, sorry I can’t stay. Next time, I will.”

In the women’s embraces – female germs - Ellis squirmed. Miriam watched them leave, Catherine wiping her cheek on her sleeve. Ellis looked back and grinned.

From the window, Abigail called out, “Are you just going to stand there all day? We’re not getting any younger.”
 

Cearo

Senior Member
Paper Snowflake

The Teller straightened in his seat. The young ones were all looking up at him with firelight glinting in their dark eyes. He reached a wrinkled hand into his dirty tan shirt and pulled out a smudged and creased triangle of paper.

“What’s that?” Ida, the youngest of the three children asked.

The Teller ignored them, stared up at the piping above his head, sighed, and bent over the paper. His crooked fingers uncreased the folds and he held up the paper to show an intricate design cut out of a circle of paper. The inside was surprisingly white.

There was a collective gasp from the children gathered around him. “What is that, Old Man?” Peter asked.

The Teller took a deep breath and exhaled slowly, he straightened his stiff back and looked out over the large room. A fire burned in what had once been a stainless steel sink. A metal barrel directly opposite held a fire as well. There were adults placed next to each entryway, groups of children slept in shifts with their families.

“Long ago,” the Teller coughed, his voice rusty. Ida handed him her canteen. He drank deeply and handed it back to her. “Long ago there was another world in place of the one we live in now. Instead of burning rain and sun there was water that fell from the sky so pure and sweet it could be played in.”

Peter snorted, “No water can be played in without being boiled twice, Old Man. Besides, no one would waste pure water like that."

“It could be then. There used to be so much water that it fell from the sky in great torrents that washed everything away. There used to be so much that people collected it just to put chlorine in it to play during the hot months.”

“What does that have to do with that paper?” Thomas finally spoke up, his eyes feverish.

“Everything. In that long ago time, water could freeze. It would fall from the sky in white flakes that drifted like ash from a fire. People had paper then, real paper, fresh paper, never used. Not the stuff we collect to burn, but paper for writing on, for drawing on, for cutting. And people would cut these out," the Teller shook the paper at them, "to represent that frozen rain.”

“What is frozen?” Ida asked, tugging his sleeve.

“It’s cold. Very cold. You wouldn’t know how cold. So cold you could see your breath.”

“What was it called? The white cold water?” Thomas asked, before coughing.

The Teller looked down at the paper in his hands and began folding it back up to tuck it back away in his shirt. He sighed and when he looked back up at the children they were surprised at the tears in his eyes.

“It was called snow.”
 

kenewbie

Senior Member
Off topic

Meh, I really should read the rules before I start writing. I just saw the word "snow" and "loose one, poetry or prose .. get your creativity going". Which I did. I am posting this anyway, for you to disregard. 540 words or so.

kenewbie

Off topic #2

Updated to fit the 500 word boundry, and fixed some minor spelling issues.

495 words, not including the title.

Thirteen things you probably didn't know about snow

In what a Jungian might call the collective knowledge of western civilization, the Eskimo has thousands of words for snow. This is a myth. First of all there is a matter of defining the language. "Eskimo-Aleut", which is the technical term for the language family, contains 6 different languages, not including Sirenik which became extinct in 1997 when the last native speaker, a woman named Vyie, died of old age.

What these languages have in common is that they are polysynthetic, which is a fancy way of saying that words are made up by a large number of small units, or morphemes. In English, words are made up by few morphemes, the word "unbreakable" is made up of "un", "break" and "able". With a highly polysynthetic language however, you can keep stacking these units on top of eachother to make a very descriptive single word. As an example, the word "qinmiqtuqtuq" can be made to describe "a person which moves by help of a dog team".

So, to get back on track: The Eskimo languages have a limitless amount of words for snow, just as they have for mountains, goats and everything else. If you break things down and and look at common words in Yupik - which is the language of choice in Eskimo Alaska - there are 24 different words for snow. While this might sound like a lot at first glance, English has atleast 40.

Part of the reason why we so easily imagine the Eskimo's vocabulary is because we picture them among the snow. But there is enough snow on this planet for all of us. Ice caps, glaciers and permanent snow makes up almost 70% of all our freshwater.

Glacial ice - which is nothing more than compressed snow - covers 11 percent of all land. Seasonal snow covers another 33 percent. In other words, close to half the landmass of this planet is at any given time covered in snow. If you chop up the glaciers and ice bergs and then distribute the snow equally around the world, the entire planet would be covered in 4 inches (10 cm) deep snow.

Snow itself is just one of fourteen different solid states of water. The unusual thing about all these states are that they take up more room than the water they came from. Water is in fact the only substance we know which expands when it freezes. All other compounds shink as they cool down.

This is why your ice cube floats in your drink. But it goes further than that: This quirky property of water is what fuels the golf stream. It is the reason why ice forms on top of lakes and insulates them, rather than freeze them from the ground up. If it wasn't for this wierd little feature of snow and ice, most of the earth's fresh water would be solid during the winter, and life as we know it might not have been possible.
 
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Swift84

Senior Member
Snow of our God


Michael's ears had a fetish for stories. Starting at three years old, he would hang around his grandfather's chair, playing with wooden blocks and plastic hammers. Sometimes Michael's grandfather told the boy to get his eyedrops. Michael would run to the small table in his grandparents' bedroom as if his grandfather needed an "eyedrop of youth" to survive the harsh day of watching Jeopardy! and completing word puzzles.

During a moderate winter in 1969, Michael--having just turned six years old--returned with the unusually large bottle of drops after a conventional request. He climbed to his grandfather's lap as always. The old man removed his glasses, administering the drops within a few seconds. After setting the glasses back on his thin nose, Michael's grandfather glanced at Michael like an angel had just visited the old man: "So boy, want to hear about the white stuff that used to cover the world on Christmas time?"

Michael nodded without a smile.

"Alright. Back when rabbits and people were best friends--"

"Why were they best friends?" Michael chimed with his trusty interruption.

His grandfather looked at Michael like the child had been dropped on his dumb face too many times. "You don't know? Because the rabbits let us use their thickets for hiding during wars."

"What are thickets?"

"Well, they're large holes in the middle of the pasture. And in the holes are these hands that grab at you," the old man said as he grabbed at air in front of Michael's face. "Now, this white stuff would fall from the sky when God got really excited; at least, that's what people thought."

"So only God could cover the entire world with white stuff?"

"That's right."

"How would he would do it?"

"He had this special long gun that his angels would stare at all day long. But the gun didn't work like the guns I've let you shoot."

"So he didn't pull a trigger?"

"No. This gun would only work if God grabbed it and tugged back and forth on it. After about five or ten minutes--sometimes fifteen to thirty--the gun would spray the white stuff down on the world. But here's the neat thing about the white stuff: you could make stuff with it."

"Like what?"

"Like men. Men with three round parts: the head, the belly, and a huge ball for feet. And you could stick other things on his head to give him a face. People used carrots for his nose."

"Why would you use a carrot?"

"Because it's long and hard and pointed and it will sink in there pretty deep. But I left out the neatest part: you could eat this white stuff."

"Really? And you wouldn't die?"

"No."

"Papaw, I want to eat some white stuff one day."

"Well, maybe you will."
 
S

silverwriter

Just a reminder -

IMPORTANT NOTE: Part of exercising your skill in the LM is to achieve being at or under the imposed word count. That is part of the difficulty and an element that adds to the competition environment. All further LMs conducted by yours truly will now have a disqualification feature for those who go over their word count. The word count WILL NOT include the title, only the body of the piece.

Given the oddities of word programs’ word counting, I can understand one or even five words over, but I feel more than that isn’t just giving some room for oddities. I'd say going ten words over the word count is grounds for being disqualified. As I said, I know people who work quite hard to get to that exact 500 mark.

I have a thought that people might think slamming down on rules this way might make LM a bit less fun or enjoyable, but I do know people who grind away at their submissions to make it under the mark. To have someone come along who is over and only get a few points knocked off (if that) can be a bit disheartening. I only enforce this rule because I feel it’s necessary and will to the LM some good. Thank you.

P.S. Feel free to PM me if you disagree.
 
The Myth (366 words)

The boy asked to hear the story again, one more time before bed. His hands fluttered on his father's knee like small birds. The father, bound by the tight threads of love, did not try to resist. Instead, he ran his fingers through his son's hair, and cleared his throat.

"A hundred years ago, and a hundred years before that, the surface of the earth was different than it is now. The sky was different. And people were different.

"In those days, tall buildings spotted the land. The people used great steel machines to change the crust of the earth, to break through it and pull what they wanted from the soil and the rock. There were factories that spit black smoke into the air in waves, and the sky grew dim from it.

"The people of the earth did not know then what they were doing, and so they kept doing it. And when they learned how they were poisoning the earth and the sky, they could see no other way, and so they did not stop. And when they did not stop, the earth was angry.

“At first it brought rains to wash the filth from its skin, but the damage was too great. Then it brought snow, great blankets of snow that covered the earth, and lasted for many years. The snow filled the holes in the earth, and left them soft and clean and smooth. The snow cleared the air of smoke, and the stars glowed like embers in the black night.

“When the snow melted, the earth warmed. The people who were left started again.

“Like all things, the earth has ways of healing, and ways of speaking. Sometimes it gives a gentle reminder, and sometimes, a violent shout. As you grow, you will learn to read these signs. The sky is our guide, but the earth is our only home.”



Through the open tent flap the night sky shone a pale, clear blue. He could see the men building a new meeting house, and saw the waiting foundations of two more tent houses. He closed his eyes, and in his dreams white flakes fell on his lashes, and on his open palms.
 
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