The wind, it bites. Whooshing down the hill on a green, two-man sled. I’m a kid again. Just a 40-something kid in boots. On a sled. In the snow. And the wind.
It’s New Year’s Day. Mister comes in, man boots dropping snow on my kitchen floor. “Let’s go,” he says. And for once, I say it. “Yes. Let’s go.”
Not in a “fousand-million years,” as Little might say, have I gone out to play in the powder. The boys, they’ve sledded the hill that rises tall behind the school. Mister, he’s taken them and tackled it, too. But not Mama. Not The Girl.
On top of the hill, I look out over the diamonds. From here, this first day in January, the months will fly. Days will melt along with the snow, and in the blink of an eye, the crack of a bat, we’ll be back by the dugout, shouting loud, shouting proud for a certain small Leaguer with a cap atop ears.
But today, atop this windswept hill, I’m happy. There’s laughter. And chasing. And scuffling. And shouting. Things like, “Don’t you dare push!” And, “You hop on back.” And this, “I’m sitting behind ’cause last time we wiped out.”
Down and up. Down and up. Down and right back up.
The down part is easy. And I get that down pat. By trial and error, I find that putting a heavier boy in the front keeps us aright. Going straight and not heaped in a pile of legs, arms, faces in snow. So, relieved, I sit in the back.
The up part. Ah, now that is the trick. Looking for purchase, I take small, bitty bites of the hill rising up. One then another. Up and up and up. Legs, they burn. Boots seeking traction, we climb that hill, the boy and I, pulling the sled.
I’m waiting at the top. Daddy and Little have taken their turn. With a whoosh and a shout, they’re off, sailing out, out, out across the snow. Tumbling off, they turn around and tackle the hill. Daddy, I see, is pulling the sled, small Snowman right tight by his side.
I’m watching them ascend. They’re taking their time, short legs scrambling to keep up with long strides. Together, Big and Small are climbing the hill.
And then. A big, strong daddy has taken his hand. Step, step, step. Up, up and up. Father, he’s helping, grasping one small, right hand, and helping his son up the hill.
Standing there, I see it–Love’s climbing the hill. And I know: this is the way that the small can scale mountains. That the weak rise, victorious. That the young can ascend.
And He speaks. “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, ‘Do not fear; I will help you.'”
For an instant, there in the wind and the cold, warmth comes flooding, and light. For Father, He’s holding my hand. And one step at a time, up, up, and up, we’re climbing together, He and I. Big and small, strong and weak, the powerful and the utterly dependent.
We can climb mountains, you and I, for Father holds our hand.
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