By Virginia Arthur


Oh, Frosty the Snowman
Was alive as he could be
And the children say he could laugh and play
Just the same as you and me


 

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“I have to stay up here now which is why no one has seen me for the past 20 or so years. I’d just melt down there,” he says to me as I unload my backpack and let out a sigh. “I used to go as low as 2,000 feet; kids were so happy to see me, too. But I don’t go down that low anymore.”

I have spent the entire day working my way up to 10,000 feet. It was exhausting and I’m beat, but the chance to get this exclusive interview with Frosty the Snowman is something I couldn’t pass up. Frosty and I go way back to my childhood winters in Ohio, around 50 years ago.

“Good to see you,” I say to him as I give him a quick hug — too long and he gets fussy about melting “from all the love.”

“I already have climate change to worry about,” he says. “Glad to see you too but that’s enough.”

I ask him how he’s doing and he lets out a guffaw, his corncob pipe falling out of his twig-made mouth. I bend over and pick it up.

“Never seen this thing lit,” I say to him.

“What snowman smokes?” he quips back.

Okay. So he’s in a bad mood. I explain this is his chance to speak out.

“How high will I have to go?” he says to me staring at the ground. Was that a tear that dropped out of his eye made of coal, or just a little snow?

I tell him I’m sorry.

“Sorry, huh? You’re sorry?
All — what is it now? —
9 billion of ya’ with your hydrocarbons.”

He shakes his head.

“You and I both know my time is up. There won’t be any more snow one day, at least below something like 15,000 feet, they say. Maybe one day no snow at all. I mean, criminy, the glaciers are melting. Why can’t you all just stop? Stop living the way you do — you’re not just killing me, you’re killing yourselves. I might just be an empty-headed snowman, but even I know stupid when I see it.”

We both sigh.

“It’s beautiful up here,” I say.

“And lonely,” he answers.

Then I do see the tears. As they fall, they melt tracks through his snowy cheeks.

“It was a gift, you know. This planet. For thousands of years, it gave and gave. Clean air, water, healthy land. And all you humans do is take and take, and now you eat away at your own future; not just what you are doing to me but the hatred and violence. You seem to have no ability as a species to step back and think about what you are doing, no humility even as you destroy the very life support system that you depend on. I’m lonely at 10,000 feet, but now I am afraid of you. Up here, at least for now, I am safe. But even hiding up here I cannot get away from humans because you are destroying the very climate that made me. Your impulse to destroy, well, everything … What are you? What are you, humans? Why?”

I start to cry too.

“I don’t know what is wrong with us,” I say. “We’re selfish.”

“At your peril. Selfish but not smart.”

He looks me in the eyes and asks, “Do you think something is going to change so I can come down and see the children again?”

“No,” I answer.

Just then the sun bursts through the clouds and he quickly moves behind a boulder.

“I’ve got to keep going,” he says to me, pointing to even higher ground.

“Okay,” I say. “We always loved you, Frosty. We all did. Please know this.”

“Yeah, but not enough.”

I watch him part walk, part roll his way to higher elevation. He waves at me then disappears over the horizon. His farewell words were “don’t you cry.” I know he’ll never be back this way again.

VINTAGE FROSTY: The author (in the red coat) with her older siblings and the snowman they built around Christmas 1974 at their home in Ohio. Courtesy photo

Goodbye, Frosty.

~Virginia Arthur is a professional ecologist and writer who lives in Grass Valley. She grew up in Ohio enjoying snowball fights, sledding, and, of course, building snowmen. She started skiing at 16 at Mad River Mountain. Arthur has published four novels, three of which are eco-fiction. For more information, visit
virginiaarthurauthor.com.
 

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