Monday, January 23, 2012

Monday Musings: A Christmas Snow

I wrote this some time ago, in 2010. As my home state of North Dakota is consumed by the frigid artic air, dropping down from the artic circle, the plight of the homeless becomes a serious concern. There was much conversation regarding previous years of unfortuante incidents of homeless people freezing to death in the streets of our cities; particularly Fargo. I am glad to know today eight churches in Fargo have opened their doors, taking part in an emergency shelter program through Churches United for the Homeless, as well as other shelters in the community.

The following was an exercise in understanding homelessness, as I have never been homeless. As you read through the paragraphs below put yourself in the shoes of the woman seeking shelter from an approaching blizzard.

A Christmas Snow

The world lay in silent anticipation of the coming storm. The air was heavy, causing me to take a single, moisture laden breath, that was let out with a humbled gasp. The stillness of the silence shattered my ear drums as I looked across the plains and saw the darkness overtaking the blueness of the sun-filled sky. It was only a matter of time before the clouds, in the far off distance, would reach down and touch the frozen earth enveloping the world with a blinding whiteness. Daytime; no light would penetrate that whiteness as the strong winds carried it across the land.

I pulled my parka close to my body. The frigid temperatures, foretold by the weatherman, were slowly creeping into the nooks and crannies of the city. I searched for protection from the sure death that was approaching. I pulled and pulled on the sidewalk grate, as people passed me by without a single glance, or question. Finally, it came loose and I lowered myself down, down into the underbelly of the city, where the stench hung frozen in the air, but the wind no longer bit my cheeks and nose. My fingers began to melt into the warmth of the material surrounding all but one. I could hear the hustle and bustle of the traffic on the street high above me. The sounds of gentle, merry-filled voices drifted down through the tunnels, carrying the sounds of well-wishing for a good holiday. I wanted to wish those above me a good holiday in return, but my voice only traveled through the darkness of the tunnels before me.

Darkness fell, and the sounds above me dwindled into silence, with only the ocassional howl of the wind that had arrived in the city. Snow lilted down through the holes of the grate, lit only by the street light above, some distance down the tunnel, creating a tiny snowglobe effect. The cold sunk into the tunnels wrapping its icy fingers around me as I drifted off to sleep. My mind wandered back to the days when I lay in my childhood bed shaking the snowy mountain scene, watching as the snow twisted and twirled in a world of fancy and imagination. Such peace that was beheld in that one tiny scene.

It is Christmas morning, the sun is shining and I am alone and warm. I see her lying there still asleep and wonder if she will ever awaken. It is Christmas morning and I am alone and warm. I am alone and warm. It is Christmas morning and the sun is shining. The winds have passed over and the snow has ceased its descent. I am alone and warm. My parka is shared with the sleeping woman just feet away; and I am warm. A single light shines some distance away as she lies sleeping; dreaming of a snowy mountain scene. I cannot stay, and move into the light wondering if she will ever awaken.

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