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This is a day of fog and icy roads, a day when I am bundled into a thick sweatshirt, wondering why I moved from sunny southern California.  The mountains are shrouded in pale white.  I can barely see the trees in the orchard behind my house.  All that remains are ghostly shapes and twisted branches.  In the eerie silence, only interupted by the faint rumble of traffic from the highway, the birds who huddle in the branches chirp back and forth.  In front of my house, my driveway resembles a glaciar ice flow, and our street is a skating rink.  I wonder if it will ever get warm again.

If I let my fears overcome me, pretty soon all I can think about is my son driving to school, and how icy the roads are, and will he get to school safely?  What about all those other kids doing wheelies in the school parking lot, sliding and crashing into each other?   I’ll be depressed by the thick fog, and how I ache for a little bit of sunlight to pierce the cloud cover that has hung over us for days on end.

On the other hand, what does this fog look like to a child?  Perhaps if I stare out the window long enough, I’ll see a troll step out from behind the trees.  Perhaps I’ll see a faun hurrying along with his packages.  A dwarf might stump along with ax, sword, and shield in hand, on his way through the foothills as he heads to his home in the mountains.

Children know this truth that we adults have to keep relearning:  everything tastes better with a little imagination.

Just imagine what those birds are saying out there:

“Henry, I’m tired of being cold.”

“Now Maude, it won’t last long.  Ruffle your feathers up a little more.  You’ll be fine.”

“We could be in Florida right now, sitting on a beach sipping lemonade, enjoying the hot, warm sun, but noooo….  Your great-great-great-however-many-great-Grandma had to turn down that marriage proposal from Mr. Swallow, and now here we are stuck in the snow every winter.”

“Oh, Maude, go eat a worm.”

“I can’t eat a worm!  They’re all buried under two feet of snow.  And besides, I hate worms.  Bleh, bleh.  What I want is a nice roast beef sandwich, topped with a slab of Provolone and then toasted in the oven until it’s nice and hot and crispy.  Just thinking about it makes my mouth water.”

“Maude, in the first place, you have a beak, not a mouth, and in the second place, your saliva glands are so poorly developed you may as well not have any.”

“Which is just as well, because we’re going to have to live through this winter eating birdseed and pine cone seeds.”

“Stuff it, Maude, or I’ll push you off the branch.”

“I’d like to see you try.  It’s so cold I think my feet have frozen to the branch.”

“AAAH!  Henry!”

Anyway, back to reality.

Thanks to everyone who has checked out my book The Sixth Power.  Please leave a review and send comments.  Above all, I hope you enjoy the story.

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