Friday, December 24, 2010

**The Message in the Snowflakes**

 It was late November.  The grey, overcast sky seemed appeared to be so low that a mere mortal might try to reach a hand up to the heavens.  The gloominess made the late autumnal day seem even more dismal than it already was.  The trees had lost their vibrant coloured leaves and now, the bare branches swayed in the fierce wind.  Mother Nature looked down upon the scene which reflected her mood so aptly.  It was she who was responsible for this grim view.  The sun hid behind a cloud to escape her wrath.  All animal life, feathered or furry, hid in their nests or other places where animal life will hide when it senses that all is not well.  Such was the truth, all was not well on this day.

Mother Nature, much like her four seasons, changes in appearance as one season leads into the next.  In spring, when new growth abounds, flowers tip their heads to an ever warming beam of sunshine, and the damp earthy smell in the air alludes to the new season, Mother Nature is a young woman, dressed in shades of green, just as this seasonal colour brings hope to all, that warmth, colour and fragrance will return to our starved senses, telling us that our hopes for a wonderful spring were not in vain.

As spring gives way to summer, Mother Nature changes her look and appears as a maturing woman, confident in her ability to make the days warm, the flowers plentiful and the forests inviting to all wildlife for it is there that so many make their homes and find food for their growing families.  Yes, summer is one of Mother Natures greatest seasons.  Although all four are magnificent, each in their own way, it is this one season that she seems to be most creative in making lush meadows, magnificent leafy trees and bountiful crops growing in the fields.  She dresses in yellows and golds, tinged with little accents of her spring time green.  She is the colour of happiness, laughter and joy and she shares these gifts with all as she is known for her generosity.  Summer is a season to be enjoyed, remembered and most of all, treasured.  It is the memories of this season that give us hope when we are battered by cold north winds that penetrate any crack or opening in our homes.  Summer is truly a wondrous season.

Autumn is Mother Natures favourite of all her seasons.  For, this is when she is splashing all shades of orange, rust, red, and gold with gay abandon.  She, herself dresses in these colours and although she would appear as a middle aged woman, she is spry and dances throughout her forests, meadows and all other places painting vibrant, happy days that give way to cooler nights.  The crops are being harvested at this magnificent time and many a farmer sends a nod of thanks to this glowing woman for her help with providing the wealth of foods that we see piled into baskets and spilling over onto the stands at the roadside markets.  This is a season of giving for this mother and she gives freely, sharing her visions of the perfect autumn day.

But, this particular autumn day, Mother Nature was not happy.  She appeared old, grey as the day and in a temper as shown by the gusty, cold winds.  She could not put a finger on what it was that was troubling her.  She pondered the events of the past few weeks when she had gone from being the happy, mature woman that she was in spirit, to the older, hardened woman she was at this moment.  Such was her rage that even the wee faerie folk feared her and would not approach her to see if she was in need of their help.  The faerie folk are gentle and kind, never ones to hold a grudge or to appear in a fit of temper no matter the situation.  They knew that Mother Nature was not her usual self and that days of this magnitude of greyness certainly were to be for some reason, even if this reason was not apparent to them.  It was one of the older, more experienced faeries that took it upon herself to approach the unhappy matriarch and question her about her great sadness, for surely this had to be the reason behind such a show of temper.

Mother Nature bowed her head to the wee faerie, Madeline.  Madeline was a motherly figure herself.  Her mature countenance invited one to confide in her for anyone could see and more importantly feel, that Madeline was one to be trusted.  She sat on a tree stump and consoled the unhappy woman, hoping that in finding comfort, she would once again return to her happy self and bring closure to the season and bring forth winter, the season of cold, frosty days and even colder nights that put the earth to sleep under a bed of white fluffy snow.  Only by having this time of rest would the earth be ready for the longer and warmer days of spring.  The two women talked quietly between themselves, each nodding to the other, understanding and feeling what the other said.  Mother Nature was unhappy because of the the humans.  As she watched, she saw that they were in such haste with their lives that they forgot to take pleasure in each and every day.  They rushed by their neighbours without a kind word to spare, no time to help another in need and unheeding to the appeals of their children to stop, read a story to them or to just spend time with them baking cookies, sharing memories of years past and hopes for the future.  This broke Mother Natures' heart and made her so unhappy that she despaired of being able to go forward and bring on the snowflakes that would be like a white dust falling gently from the sky.  She knew that the first snowflakes of the season brought such joy to so many and yet she was holding back, not wanting to share this special gift just yet.  This was the reason for the tempestuous day and her show of temper.

Madeline now understood why Mother Nature was feeling so unsettled.  More importantly, she had a plan to help the worried woman bring back the feelings of joy, peace and serenity.  Bringing back these feelings and sharing them with the humans would bring on the season of winter in all of its glory.  Frosted window panes for all to marvel at, big drifts of snow for the children to dive into and a crispness in the air that made the adult humans feel good to be alive would help Mother Nature see that not all was lost, that the humans still had within themselves the capability to feel compassion for their neighbours as well as wanting to share their memories with their children.  Memories would return of winters past, when they, as children had built snow people, had skated on frozen ponds and had sat before a blazing fire enjoying hot chocolate as their parents read them stories from much loved books.  Madeline assured Mother Nature that the plan the two of them had put together would bring back the feelings that the humans were so lacking.  It would take a little time and much planning, but the two women would put things right and winter would proceed as so it should and had for many centuries before.

Madeline hurried back to her home and met with the other faeries, sharing the plan she and Mother Nature had put together.  It would take all of the faeries to help in order for the plan to work, but they all agreed that it was a wonderful idea and they began their preparations in earnest.  Much work was done in a few weeks and even the youngest faeries were to help in bringing the joy and anticipation of a new season to the humans.  In fact, it would be the littlest faeries who would play the most important part in the plan.  They practised what they were to do and were eager for the day to come when they could do their part to help.  Their eagerness made Mother Nature smile and the following days became colder, frosty, but lacking in snowflakes to herald the season.  It would be well into the month of December before the first snowflakes would appear, but when they did, the impact on the humans would be such that it would be talked about for centuries to come.

The big day approached and the littlest faeries could hardly wait for the time that they were to take part in what was to be the most impressive show of their young lives.  Finally, wonderfully, December 21st arrived and it was the first day of the winter solstice, the first official day of winter and a few days after that it would be Christmas, a day much loved by all the humans and their children, but possibly for the wrong reasons.

By mid morning on December 21st, all the preparations were finished and Mother Nature, along with Madeline stood on a sturdy cloud high above the humans who were rushing about below, their children tagging along unhappily, trying to finish the last minute shopping and tasks to be completed before the holiday arrived.  It was at this point that Mother Nature gave the signal for the snowflakes to start.  But, these snowflakes were different from other years for this year, each snowflake was worn by a tiny young faerie.  As the first few faerie snowflakes started to drift to the earth, each little faerie twirling, dancing and pirouetting to make their little snowflake skirts billow out around their little bodies the humans stopped what they were doing to watch in amazement.  The numbers of little faerie snowflakes dancing to the ground increased until the air was full of the dancing little ones floating to the ground, only to leave their crystalline skirt behind and dash back to Mother Nature and Madeline to replace their first snowflake skirt with another.  The scene was magnificent and each tiny dancer revelled in their important task of bringing back the joy of winter.  And, as each little faerie snowflake made its way to earth, the tiny faerie would sing in their tiny voices as they fell past the humans, "Believe," "Rejoice," "Be happy."  Again and again the message was sung by hundreds, no, millions of little faeries until the ground was snow laden and the humans were smiling, mesmerized by the sight of so much happiness brought forth by each snowflake.

Mother Nature and Madeline watched the scene unfold below them and as they did, Mother Nature changed in appearance.  Gone was the grey, sad looking woman and in her place was an older woman clothed in pure white with silvery crystalline edges.  Her happiness was mirrored in the scene below.  The humans were smiling, laughing as their children danced about trying to catch  the snowflakes which had been abandoned by their wee faerie who had been only moments ago been wearing it as a little skirt.  It was a magical moment that lasted through the late morning until mid afternoon.  By this time, every home in all the villages had snow covered roofs and the ground was covered with enough snow for the children to make snow people or snow angels.  Yes, winter had arrived and with it, the message to the humans had been delivered.  "Believe," "Rejoice, and "Be happy" were the messages that reverberated throughout the towns and these messages brought comfort to all.  The humans returned to their normal gentle nature and helped their neighbours, read stories to their children and the scent of hot chocolate wafted from each little home as humans and their children sat before blazing fires remembering the winters before this magical one.

Although this story happened so many years ago, it still holds true today.  At the sight of the first snowflakes, mankind stops to watch and feels a certain joy as the messages from that special winter solstice are repeated.  If you listen very carefully when you see the snowflakes pirouette to the ground, as new generations of wee faerie children take on the tradition of heralding the winter season, you just might hear a tiny little voice whisper "Believe" or "Rejoice" or "Be happy."  Listen and pass the message on to a loved one, a neighbour, or even a stranger.  The joy you feel in your heart will only grow if it is shared with others.  Let us truly make this the season of joy amongst mankind.  The season is not about receiving gifts, it is about sharing our love and joy with others.  When you do, Mother Nature and Madeline nod to each other, acknowledging another job well done and the start of a winter wonderland courtesy of some wee faerie children who will return home after this important task to sit with their faerie parents, sip on hot chocolate  reminiscing about winters past.  This is as it should be and we have Mother Nature with the assistance of Madeline and all the faerie folk to thank for making us realize the importance of the winter season to all mankind.

I hope you enjoyed this little holiday story!  Take time over the next few days to enjoy the warmth and happiness of the season.  And, take time to sit back and enjoy a bit of a respite from all the chaos and frantic activity you have been part of for the past few weeks.  You have earned the time to escape and enjoy some "me" time and then some. 

Wishing you and your families a very Merry Christmas!

Sincerely,  Rutheemac

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