Gram was kneading bread and staring out the kitchen window and I had a fork full of maple syrup-soaked waffle half way to my mouth when Gram said, "The pink rains are back!"
Her voice was dreamy and I had no idea what she meant until jumped up to look.
"Right there, honey," Gram pointed at the crab apple tree growing near the barn.
For a minute, it looked like a magic carpet, flowing and blowing around the ranch yard, but then my brain made sense of what my eyes saw.
The crab apple tree was covered with flowers that, I suppose, will turn into apples by the end of summer. Now, though, the wind blew through them, and each gust brought a new blizzard of blossoms.
How did I miss it last year and the springs before that? And what would Tempest think of them?
Everything was brand new to my mostly-mustang filly and her investigations were fun to watch.
I was already dressed for school and I had a few minutes to spare, so I ran outside.
Tempest's corral was practically next to the tree. With her black coat dotted with thin,
soft petals, she looked like a fantasy filly. She looked like something out of a fairy
tale, or a brightly painted merry-go-round horse that's escaped the monotony of chasing
the tail in front of her.
"I've heard of a dappled gray," I told her, "but not a dappled pink."
Tempest jerked her stubborn chin up, but her eyes stayed focused on a space between
fence rails as she watched me.
She didn't recognize my words or know she was covered with flowers, but she was trying to
understand why I sounded happy. She never liked to be left out of anything fun.
She sneezed and a whirlwind of blossoms floated in front of her eyes. Then, she knew something
weird was happening.
Her little hooves took her on a zigzag gallop across the corral, but she couldn't out run the
pink blizzard. She reared and rolled her eyes. When she came back to earth, she shook until
she'd shaken them all off.
Another blast of wind swept through the crab apple tree, and a flurry of flowers surrounded
her and Tempest must have seen it happen, because she froze. With all four legs planted
stiff as broomsticks, she looked up.
Tempest blinked as if she couldn't believe her eyes and totally ignored my laughing.
She concentrated and when a single blossom swirled so close it might have landed between
her nostrils, she snapped at it--and caught it. Then, she chewed, and her head nodded as if she were really pleased with herself.
I heard the ranch house door open and knew what Gram would say before she called, "Samantha! You're going to be late for your last day of school!"
I walked backward for a few steps, because I couldn't pry my gaze away from Tempest.
When I turned and sprinted toward the house, I was still smiling. For the rest of the day, I'd keep that picture in my mind of my black filly catching blossoms on her tongue like pink snowflakes.