We weren’t expecting the blizzard. “If we don’t leave before 4 a.m. Blake, there’s no point in us going,” Charnika said to me. We had not left for the cabin so at that moment we were more concerned about traffic. A few snowflakes to close out the winter, we expected. Thanksgiving, Christmas, the new year had long passed months ago. 

We were embarking on the Spring. Embarking. Some trees had started to bloom. As usual, the coyotes were on the prowl. We saw bear cubs in the distance. And the rare black fox. Or maybe just rare to me. And deer, but then aren’t they trotting about all the time. But no sign of the monster storm on the horizon.

It was the whistling wind that started the shift. Spring was no doubt over the horizon just on the other side calling us to come and play. Calling us to the beaches and barbecues. Calling us to the mountain biking without multiple layers of clothes. At least some of us. Calling us to the canoe and white water rafting without the threat of hypothermia the instant we hit the water.

We were looking forward to early April deep in the wood in our cabin. It’s not that we don’t enjoy the snow and the winter wonderland; icicles jab at us from above, frozen lakes that spawn spontaneous ice races and hockey games. Woods dressed in the color of cumulus clouds.

We were simply expecting it after black Friday. Or should I say during? We drove up after Thanksgiving. It’s not too far. Less than four hours on winding roads. Our cabin is high on the mountain. The roads are so steep I would think the town, the cabin might tumble down.

It seems as much until we get there. It’s a cozy place. A fireplace. A deck.Two bedrooms. Running water. And surprisingly we can get a signal on our phones. Sometimes. We have a working DVD player and a television. I hope.

The signal is so spotty, we don’t bother with Netflix and Amazon Prime. What’s the point in watching a movie five minutes here and two minutes there in between long pauses. So we bring movies from Redbox.

We pick them up in Hearthstone. The small town we drive through on the way up...not too far from the cabin...and, we pick up four to five new releases. Four to five. Which is about the average. We watch movies on a regular basis, whether in the theater or on Amazon, Netflix, and YouTube.

But we have different tastes. So movies, or television series, Charnika’s seen, I haven’t. And vice versa. So I watch a movie or series Charnika says is good. And she trusts my judgment on a series or film. 

Does Charnika always like what I suggest? Yes. And No. Sometimes it takes a while. She has to watch a series or movie more than once. I think she’s simply humoring me. I have to watch a movie twice before I catch on to what’s happening. It’s the same for some series. I have to watch two seasons twice then I get the gist of the story. I have to pay more attention is what it is.

And as such was the case on this occasion. We were watching movies, cooking, cleaning, writing, reading, going for walks. We didn’t bother using our phones much but for reading e-Kindle books since the service was so intermittent; more, non-existent.

We were so caught up enjoying our daily activities, enjoying our time together, enjoying our time away we did not take the time to go in town to make sure that all was well. If we had we would have known a blizzard was moving toward our location.

We brought crust, green, yellow, and red peppers, black olives, mushrooms, brown onions, and homemade tomato sauce. Ingredients for our homemade pizza. the sauce had chopped tomatoes, chopped pickles, and herbal seasonings which we smoothed onto our two pie crusts. One for that evening and the other to bake for lunch or dinner the next day.

We sliced and diced the peppers and onions. Tossed the olives and mushrooms across the face of the pie. I didn’t forget the meat. I’m not a big meat eater whether chicken, beef, ground turkey, plant-based or otherwise, which is probably why I forgot it.

But Charnika eats meat on a regular basis which is why she’s a little salty that I forgot the ground turkey, the chopped chicken, and the Morning Star veggie crumbles sealed and ready to go in Ziploc bags, “but you remembered that lemon pepper seasoning,” Charnika snapped smearing tomato sauce on my cheek.

The sauce tastes good as is. I must have put lemon pepper, red pepper, and those other seasonings in it beforehand. No matter. I dashed more⎯a couple more into the sauce. “And don’t catch an attitude with me,” I told her. “You were there. You could have tossed the meat into the cooler.” I countered flicking a handful of mozzarella her way, then ran and took cover from the barrage of peppers and onions she sailed in my direction.

It was not long after we finished watching movies and eating pizza that we woke to strong winds buffeting the cabin. We had fallen asleep on the couch. The television was still on and episode five of the fourth season of Battlestar Galactica was watching us. I’m sure Admiral Adama didn’t appreciate it, but hey. It was 4 a.m. and we were full.  

The undeniable sound of a train or locomotive snapped us off the couch and against the wall away from sharp objects that could potentially pierce our being. Our elementary schools had burned what to do in a tornado in our minds. Muscle memory placed us in a crouched position facing the wall within seconds. Our cabin has no basement. The roar of the wind was loud but not so much that it drowned out the clash between viper and raider on the screen.

We saw that it was snowing heavily outside when we leaped from the couch. Thick snowflakes swirled in the motion-sensitive lights around the deck; quick snapshots of Hearthstone’s own snow mountain. It was the light minutes later that filled the cabin through the windows that shocked us. 

While crouched in the corner, the light was bright to the point we could barely open our eyes. It was brighter than the noon sun in July. My watch read a quarter after four in the morning. The roar of the wind remained the same and for another minute the cabin remained lit as if the sun was seeking entry. 

We remained crouched against the wall more to avoid blindness than to avoid being pierced in the heart, head or lungs from flying glass or debris. This threat never materialized. And at once the only light was the light from the television. Outside our window above the cabin lights, more lights still remained⎯hovering. 

Too big to be a helicopter. Wrong configuration for a plane or military drone. “What would have the light to transform pitch black into blinding light?” Charnika asked me. We couldn’t tell exactly the shape of it being it was directly above the cabin and due to the heavy snowdrifts. Plus we were afraid to go outside. It was not round. But from what we could tell through the swirling flakes and trees it had three points. We called 911 and asked if anyone had reported an unidentified flying object. 

The answer “no,” the operator said as if we were of an idle mind...Nothing else better to do than bother him with trifling madness. We let it go. We took pictures and plenty of them. And pretty good ones. And then in the blink of an eye, the object was gone. No slow ascent. No watching its lights drift slowly through the trees. Gone. Speed we could not put words to.

Up to this moment, we have yet to tell anyone of that day. When will be the right time? What will our children and other family think of our story? We have school, careers a church family. What will others think of them? What did we really see? The pictures confirm what we saw. We know what we saw.

January 11, 2020 04:24

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