Outside in the dark her father was standing, beer in hand, looking into the trees. His work pants were dusted white, his work boots thick with snow and dirt. Dalia wanted to rush forward, hug him anywhere she could get purchase and jump up into his arms but instead she watched him breathing blue mist like a dragon, breathing loudly but calmly, largely—like him and no one else. But the cold caught her throat and she coughed. Her father turned slowly around, as though some part of him doubted he had heard it.
“Dalia,” he whispered, “come here, girl.”
Dalia crunched over to stand beside her father.
“Up there,” he said, “see it?”
Up on a tree branch perhaps twenty feet away a large owl, what looked like a Northern Spotted turned, its eyes flashing, to stare directly at her.