“Mom?” Mia stares out the living room window as her mom brushes her hair. “What’s going to happen to our snowman when there’s no more snow?”
It’s late February in northern Idaho and all the snow is melting, much to Mia’s displeasure. She had fun with her snowman for the last few months and doesn’t want to see him disappear.
“Don’t worry, Mia. He’ll come back next year. For now he’s just returning to his home further north in Snowman Heaven. Remember the news? Scientists are trying to stop the Earth’s ice from melting because that’s where all the snowmen go when they can’t live with us anymore.”
“What’s it like up there?”
[“Huh?! Where am I?”
Sammy shakes his head as he wakes up. The snow on the brim of his hat flies off in a powdery waterfall. He looks around at the snowy expanse in front of him. There’s not much here except for snow and ice. The only things adding color to the landscape are all the other snowmen with their hats, scarves, and sometimes a vest or coat of some kind – it all depends on how creative the child was who put life into them.
A slow, deep voice comes from behind Sammy.
“Ah, it must be your first time here, young one. What is your name?”
Sammy turns around. He’s never seen another snowman that big before!
“I-I’m Sammy. At least that’s what the girl calls me. Where is she? She said she was going to give me a new scarf today.”
“Sammy. I’m Louis. Let me tell you about myself and about this place.” He motions for Sammy to follow him up a hill with one of his stick arms. When they both get to the top he continues. “I appeared on this hill many years ago just as you did down there. Unfortunately, the child who created me lives in a place that doesn’t get as much snow as it used to and that’s why I haven’t been able to go back. There’s not enough snow to support me. You’ll be a lucky one who gets to return next year because you’re smaller and the girl who created you loved you. You can tell by the great care she took in choosing the clothes you wear.”
Sammy looks down at the vest he has worn ever since he can remember. He never thought anything of it until now.
“I hope you can return to her one day.” Louis stares off into the distance in a thoughtful silence. “We call this place Snowman Heaven.”
“Why is it called that?” Sammy asks.
“Oh you haven’t noticed.” Louis chuckles. “We grow wings when we get here.”
Sammy must have been caught up in the moment because he didn’t realize that he and every other snowman here had wings made of icicles protruding out of their backs. He looks over his stick shoulder in disbelief and notices something. “Hey, why are mine melting? I don’t see anyone else’s doing that.”
Louis gasps. “Boy, where did you say you’re from?”
“Your wings are melting because you’re going back! The winters there are unpredictable but it doesn’t look like it’s your time yet!” Louis starts clapping excitedly. “I guess I’ll see you when winter really leaves.”]
“Sammy!” Mia runs down the stairs of her bus after school and up to the snowman she built with her brother. “You haven’t melted after all! I was at school and saw that it was snowing and I was hoping you would be here when I get back!”
She throws her arms around her snowman, causing his sides to get slightly thinner from the warmth of her hug.
Sammy smiles at the snow falling around him and holds a stick arm out to catch a snowflake. ‘Thank you,’ he thinks, ‘for giving me one last opportunity to get a warm hug.’