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RAMON PRESSON: Secret snow is a parable for young victims of abuse


RAMON PRESSON: Secret snow is a parable for young victims of abuse

The surprise snow that fell during the night had all but disappeared by the end of a mid-morning counseling session, the proof outside my window melting away while inside an adult client described years of childhood abuse suffered at the hands of a family member.

Her parents did not believe her and never intervened to protect her.

This is dedicated to the boys and girls, men and women, who are wounded survivors of abuse. Some suffered in silence while others had their voices and cries for help muted by denial or indifference.
— — — –
By 9:30 that morning the snow was gone without a trace to be found anywhere. The thin layer that fell during the night, covering the grass and frosting the trees, had disappeared. It was if the earth was saying, “What snow? I don’t see any snow. Do you see any snow? I don’t remember seeing any snow. I think you just imagined seeing snow.”

It was like a crime scene with all evidence removed, everything back to normal as if the incident had never happened. So I went to my lawn, which had been filled with frozen powder at daybreak, and asked, “Where did your light snow blanket go?”

“Snow blanket? What are you talking about?” said the grass.

I’m talking about the snow that fell during the night and covered you except for the taller sprigs sticking out like candles on a white cake. The snow was in all of the yards.

“Well, as you can plainly see there is no snow here. Or anywhere. I think you are mistaken.”

“But I saw it. I felt it coarse and cold in my hand.”

“Well, I think you are perhaps delusional or are making up this story. Go ask the trees if you don’t believe me.”

So I went to the trees in my back yard and said to them, “I see you brushed off all the snow from last night.”

“Excuse me,” said a Leyland Cypress. “Snow from last night?”

“Yes, it snowed last night and this morning it was clearly adorning your branches. It was quite picturesque. But it warmed during the morning and apparently has melted clean away.”

“I was here all night and I would remember a snow. There was no such snow. You are mistaken.”

“I know what I saw!” Hot tears welled up in my eyes.

“Then you were hallucinating or you have convinced yourself that your fiction is a true story.”

“But I have physical evidence. I took a photo of your snow limbs. Here it is on my
phone …”

“Yes, well, that could be any Leyland Cypress in that photo. You can’t prove it is me. Or if it is me it was likely taken during a snow last winter.”

“You can’t be serious. You know, ALL of you know, there was snow last night and it was still here at daybreak …”

“Please be on your way,” the cypress said.

So I began my turn back toward the house but something white caught my eye. There beneath a low hanging limb that touched the ground the defiant cypress was hiding a tiny patch of snow. I started to speak but held my peace. I knew the truth; and today that was enough. I knew someday another tree would believe me, or that a bird or bush might even speak up on my behalf and that, too, was enough, just for today.

Ramon Presson, PhD, is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Franklin
(www.ramonpressontherapy.com) and the author of several books. Reach him
at ramonpresson@gmail.com.

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