Today I stood at a window and watched as another storm rolled in from the west bringing snow to the mountains, rain to the desert and a little ray of hope to my heart.

   I was smartly dressed in my favorite Eskimo matron attire: Sheepskin boots, inch-thick sweatpants and a Polar Fleece pullover I gave my husband for Christmas, which is not only big enough to double as a cover for RV, but warm enough to withstand sub-zero conditions, lest I’m ever asked to lead an expedition to the South Pole.

   Somehow, I still felt cold. I’m sorry, but cold is cold.

   Three years ago, when we moved to Las Vegas, people joked that summers in Sin City would be hotter than Satan’s toenails. Nobody mentioned winters would be colder than the ice in his beer chest.

    I remember our first year here, the first time it snowed. It was barely an inch, but it covered the desert like icing on an apple cake, smoothed all the rocks, dusted the palm trees and even clung to the spines on the cactus. I’ve seen bigger snowfalls, but never one so incongruous and surprising.

   The second winter it snowed twice, a couple of inches each time, turning my husband’s usual 15-minute drive home from work into an hour-long demolition derby.

   No snow so far this winter. I suspect it’s as my mother used to say, too dang cold to snow.

   I know I shouldn’t complain, especially when other parts of the country are hip-deep in ice.

   Thinking about other parts of the country reminded me to call my brother in South Carolina to see how he was holding up. As usual, he took his time about answering the phone.

   “Hey, sister, it’s good to hear your voice!”

   “Good to hear yours, too,” I said. “How’s your weather?”

   Because Joe is blind, he can’t see what the weather looks like, so he likes to go out and check it first hand. Last night, when he started down the steps, tapping his cane side to side, his hand froze to the banister, he said, so he swung around and tapped right back inside.

   “It’s been bad here, sister,” he said, in a tone he reserves for big trouble, “bad, bad, bad!”

   How bad? They had to cancel church, of all things, a rarity in the Bible Belt, the kind of thing that only happens when hell freezes over, which, he added laughing, it probably had.

   “How’s the weather in Las Vegas of all places?” he asked.

   “Not as bad as yours,” I said, “but I am hungry for spring.”

   “I am, too,” he said. “I miss sitting out on the swing.”

   I pictured him in the lawn swing outside his apartment, where last summer I sat beside him pushing the swing with my toe while he smoked his pipe.

   “Spring will come soon,” I said, “I promise.”

   His voice brightened. “Oh, I know. It always does.” Then he added, “They’re calling for more snow this week.”

   “Stay warm,” I said, “and be careful on those icy steps.”

   We said our goodbyes and I went back to watching clouds.

   I wish you could have seen them. They rumbled over the mountains, pawing the air like a herd of wild horses, casting shadows, dappling the ridges with long fingers of light.

   Then the fingers closed and all went dark, except for one dazzling beacon shining on a valley like a spotlight, like a visible promise of spring.

   For a moment, I thought I saw a town in the valley, all lit up and glittering in the sun, in the midst of the gathering storm.

   Did the people in that town know how lucky they were? Did they remember to bask in the moment and give thanks?

   Or were they looking back across the desert at my house, asking the same about me?

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