A truck with Oregon plates arrives in San Diego at dusk. When the driver slides open the cargo door, his Christmas trees are coated with lumps of snow and sheets of ice. There’s so much white he imagines an artificial forest smothered in flocking spray.
“How’d this happen?” asks Home Depot man.
The driver tucks his hands in the kangaroo pocket of his sweatshirt. “Forgot to close that damn vent,” he mutters.
The driver climbs on the bumper, grabs a chain hanging from the roof, and swings up. He shakes branches—white tumbles onto the steel bed. He digs in a blade and shovels snow and ice into the parking lot. A mogul forms. Kids gather. Most are boys but there are twin sisters. They grab the cold and shape without gloves. Snowballs sail through the half-light and splatter on asphalt. A few fathers join in. One father under-hands a snowball that bounces off his wife’s head.
“Wanna play rough, eh?” she giggles and retaliates with ice.
The driver enjoys this unexpected winter. A boy leaps over the mogul and others follow. The snow and ice don’t seem to melt. The driver’s happy his vent was open as he churned through the passes north of Eugene. The evergreen smell reminds him of home. He feels like a boy again.