Snow is falling thickly around her, blanketing the roads in white, landing lightly in her hair. Her right hand finds it way out of her pocket, pale with the cold. She holds it up to the bright blue sky, collecting a fistful of frozen rain that numbs her fingers, even as it melts and drips onto her black buckle shoes.
Her father used to tell her rain was God's paint. Coating surfaces with layers of shiny varnish and then melting away as if it had never been. He'd say that the most beautiful art was to leave nature untouched. She had looked up at him, puzzled, fingers still covered in her poster paints that she was using to paint a sea of flowers, and his eyes had crinkled with his smile.
He had pointed at the golden field of parched grass outside their home, and said, voice warm: "Is that beautiful?"
Sakura had looked at the grass, and back at her father. She nodded, then reached up to scratch her head, leaving behind trails of purple in her hair.
"If nature dead is still beautiful, then what is nature alive?" Her father, a man that usually towered over little Sakura, had bent down to her eye level.
"Not beautiful, my little flower. It is art."
Her Papa, Sakura reflected now, her breath puffing out into winter like dragon's breath, had been right. No strokes of paint of details etched by pencil could depict the texture of a flower, the musky scent that attracted bees, the sweetness of nectar.
Her footsteps were light along the frozen path to the graveyard.