Laura, a thirty year-old military widow drew a knitted shawl around her shoulders. Winter winds outside her window howled as night became a wall blocking any glimmer of stars or moon.
Desolation seemed to have an infinite depth just inches from her face. From behind a curtain, she searched the darkness of a pond across from her apartment.
In this night, in the belly of winter, she lost hope. She moved from the window to sit by a fire long turned cold, its gray ashes hovering as a mist above a marsh.
Andrew, a guardian angel assigned Laura at birth, watched from the corner of her room. He bit his lower lip, bowed his head and prayed for the counsel of God. In a twinkling, over the wail of the winds God answered. Andrew smiled, nodded and began his artful work.
A month passed and winter’s snow turned to ice. The pond across the way had frozen over. Laura looked out to see skaters as dark silhouettes against a full moon gliding across the pond in a graceful ballet. Elegant as black swans suddenly turned scribes, the skater’s silver blades etched white scripts into the opaque ice. Laura rose upon her toes, stretching into a plie, remembering. And, for the first time in a month, she smiled.
Spring followed winter’s dearth, her warm winds brushing the dead white powder from earth’s face to reveal the first green blush of a new season. Yellow and purple pansies flowered from ceramic pots on Laura’s patio; their colors a cheery pallet against the black soil that had been their wintry bed. With tea in hand, Laura sat among them, remembering the texture of the cool, gritty dirt between her fingers just a year past and the promise of the flower’s perennial blooms.
Lost in thought, she smiled and raised her head to view the pond across the way. Pink buds from the apple and cherry trees outlined the water like fine laced embroidery. Those on the far bank reflected off the still water and their nascence shimmered in a pool of opalescence. White swans with yellow cygnets in tow, slipped over the water, their rolling wakes weaving a language of its own across it silvery shell.
The pastoral beauty of brought a sigh of contentment to Laura’s lips; and the shawl, once held so tightly against winter’s offense, loosened to fall slightly from her shoulders.
From his omnipresence, Andrew smiled with her, wrote something on a blue card, sealed it in a yellow envelope and gave it to a fluttering dove for delivery another day.
Summer kissed the cheeks of spring and the ensuring blush radiated with a blaze of heat and color that shied the eye. Darting swallows swept the sky, dragon flies played dodge with bumble bees and butterflies stirred the air with their wings. Walking along the pond’s pathway, Laura’s steps were light and buoyed by a song chanting in her heart
Clouds graced the sky, fanciful doodles sketched upon a crescent ceiling. Wearing a silk brimmed bonnet tied with a yellow ribbon, Laura untied it to fling into the air and twirl upon tiptoe in the warm green grass along the path. Bystanders paused to catch the lilt of her exuberance and the elation that danced in her countenance.
A dove fluttered up to perch on Andrew’s outstretched hand. She took the waiting umber card and flew away.
Autumn loomed on the pond as a polished topaz encased in a golden locket. Powerful and beautiful it appeared, wafting in on crisp, cool air and daubed with the fragrance of waning roses and burning leaves. It thundered with authority as if it carried the very voice of God. Lightening flashed and flickered to silhouette the outline of clouds, black as pitch – golden scripts written across the sky, mirrored in the pond.
Andrew gave the dove one last card. It was pristine white and glowed with a light all its own. And, in a blink, it was winter again.
Winter’s wind swept fall away. Snow fell and the barren trees along the pond now stood as silent, shadowed sentinels protecting the frozen water. The sky shown as polished silver reflecting all that was good beneath it.
Laura rushed to the park. A lone, paladin figure, arms outstretched, stood waiting in the center of the pond. Hands trembling, tears streaming, she donned skates.
“Season’s greetings,” Andrew whispered. His words fell to surround them as real, but fleeting memories, suspended in winter’s air.
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