MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “snow”

Frozen paws

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There was no sign of it in the morning. Even before the sun was out, there was frost in the atmosphere and it was freezing. But it was expected to stay dry. It was in the midst of winter, however, and snow was always a possibility.

Not even a half hour had passed when the first snowflake hit the windshield.

The Chihuahua inside the warm vehicle got excited. As if it had understood the magic that was happening. It began to hop on the seat, stretching out its little tongue as if to lick the snowflakes that began to mount on the glass in front of it.

The driver next to the small dog was smiling. Not only because of the white scenery that began to spread rapidly now; but mainly due to the unexpected reaction from his four-legged friend.

When the road began to become more slippery, they slowed down. Caution was required.

That was when the little dog pinned its eyes outside a certain spot on the window and began to bark. Its tail was elongated like a needle.

The driver stopped and got outside.

The snow was even denser now. You could almost feel it falling on you. The Chihuahua managed to slip outside just before the car door closed.

There in front of them, near some snow-covered bushes was a furry bagel-like-circle. You could barely make out its pointy ears and fluffy tail. The snowflakes had almost engulfed it.

The dog’s owner approached cautiously and extended his hand. The fox opened its eyes. It didn’t move. Perhaps it was too scared. Or perhaps it was too numb from the cold. Its piercing blue-green eyes almost begged for help.

The driver picked it up without breaking the circle it had sat in. Inside the warmth of the car, the fox fluffed up its fur and almost appeared to smile.

The Chihuahua was happy. It didn’t want to be enjoying the luxury of a refuge when some other co-animal was freezing outside. Just because you’re safe, doesn’t mean everyone else is too.

Nature’s magic

©MCD

When Grandpa got up with the rising sun, he did not expect that the front door wouldn’t open. Neither the back. He knew it was going to be a difficult day. But for some, it would be exactly the opposite.

He tip-toed into Jenny’s room and gently shook her to waken her from dreamland. She half-opened her eyes and stretched every inch of her small body.

Good morning, Grandpa,” she whispered.

There’s a surprise outside your window,” he smiled.

She jumped out of bed and looked outside.

Everything was white. An impeccable white blanket had covered everything as far as she could see. It was snowing all night and it continued to do so now. They were snowed in.

Grandpa was concerned because they were somewhat isolated in the village and their resources were scarce. He was planning to go into town today, had the weather permitted it. But few things in life usually go according to plan.

Jenny was excited; she was jumping up and down and rushing to put on warm clothes in order to run outside. It was freezing, but enthusiasm always keeps you warm.

Come on Grandpa, let’s go build a snowman!” she called as she tried to open the door.

The old man used a shovel, back-aching and almost sweating in the sub-zero temperatures, striving to open the door.

When he succeeded the little girl ran outside and dived into the snow.

Grandpa smiled.

There wasn’t much he could do anyway. He just had to wait for assistance. So they might as well have some fun in the meantime.

Snow beautifies everything. It is nature’s magic that fills your soul with wonder.

Desire and action

©MCD
©MCD

It was snowing when he set foot outdoors. If it was up to him, he wouldn’t have, but his mother forced him to go out in search of the required groceries for lunch. He was the sort of person who always found excuses not to do something. He would constantly say he wanted to but it was simply not possible because of a series of pretexts he would cough up at the moment.

Procrastinating was Tommy’s expertise. But as he matured, he found that there were things you could simply not postpone. And the less you did, the more reliable you would become and the better status you would obtain as a person and as a character.

But the most memorable lesson, he learnt in a cabin in the woods that day he went off-track.

It was a wooden cabin below the snowy mountains. Adjacent was a lake in which two magnificent swans were found. It seemed almost mythical. He approached in hope it would offer solace from the extreme cold.

Above the front door there was a sign that read “When there’s a will there’s a way, when there’s none there’s delay”.  He knocked on the door and waited. Then he knocked again. There was no response.

After a while, as his hands began to turn numb from the cold, he decided to search for a back door.

There was one with an “entry” sign above.

Inside was a carpenter. One of the type he had only read about in storybooks.

It took you long enough,” he told Tommy as he led him to a seat near the blaring fireplace and offered him a cup of steaming hot tea.

 Tommy looked perplexed.

Had you figured out the meaning of the sign sooner, your hands wouldn’t have turned so pale from the frostbite,” the carpenter explained.

Simply stating your desire or intention to do something does not make it real. It’s when you act upon it that it happens. And that is what matters. Because others can’t see your intentions, they can only judge you by your actions”.

Tommy was beginning to understand. This meeting was not by chance. In fact, he had never seen this cabin in this part of the valley before.

“Stop denying the fact that you’re delaying things. Or simply not doing them. The time to act is now, not later. You don’t know what will happen later on. If you can do something now, why are you waiting? What for? There is always time to do something important. To show others you care.  If you can act, and if you’re going to use your intention in your defence later on, why procrastinate? If it is significant, you do it. That is what others will see. And what matters most, is what you show”.

Tommy drank his last sip and was ready to leave.

There was nothing he could say. After all, this meeting was not for him to speak, but to listen.

“Character is built on the strength of your actions”, he heard the carpenter say as he waved him goodbye.

The snow of revelation

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©Dale Rogerson

It was the last days of the season when winter decided to really make its presence felt. It was snowing for three days in a row. Everyone was initially delighted. Until the problems started to reveal themselves. And with them everything else that had long remained hidden.

People got snowed-in and either took the opportunity to fall in love with one another again, or, at the opposite end, allowed their suppressed emotions to cause an irreparable strife.

Every moment we experience is like that. With good and bad. We are the ones who choose what to truly make of it.

 

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

Flakes of excitement

http://cdn.pcwallart.com/images/snowflake-clipart-wallpaper-4.jpgAs the first flake of snow fell on his nose that evening, he could feel his entire body jolting with excitement. It was snowing in the city centre and everyone was thrilled. Perhaps a little too much, acting as if no-one had ever seen snow before and posting it all over social media. It wasn’t that strange a happening. It was winter and it was snowing.

No matter how many times he had seen snow before, he would always feel that same rush once the snowflakes began to fall, like cotton balls gently dropping from the sky. Everything seemed calmer and more silent when there was snow. And there was something so much more magical going to bed or waking up to a city dressed in white.

What he loved most was the white lumps gathering on the trees. They were usually among the last to dissolve in the morning sun and added a different sort of wintery glow to an otherwise routine stroll around the city.

No matter the years that passed, he would still rush to the window to see if the snowfall was continuing, and would often refuse to go to bed unless it stopped snowing, anxious to see how thick the white carpet would get.

It didn’t matter how old or young you were after all. What mattered was that you enjoyed those small, often seemingly insignificant, moments in life that make you feel grateful to be alive.

Snowed in

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© MCD

There is something truly wondrous about waking up to snow. Pulling the curtain and opening your window to find everything covered in white outside. Regardless if it is literally freezing cold. At that moment, you just don’t care. Because it’s magical and you want to draw it all in.

It becomes even better when you get snowed in. It’s not your fault. You can’t control weather conditions. But you can enjoy them to the fullest. Because there is nowhere really you can go, other than outside on that white carpet to play. To forget for a while all the things that bother you, your troubles and worries, your stress and concerns, and just…play. Build a snowman, start a snowball fight, lay in the snow. Become a child again.

Perhaps that’s where the real magic of the season lies: in allowing yourself to act like a child; to view the world with wonder and excitement and let your mind be free. To have faith that everything will work out exactly as it should and be positive that the happiness will last.

So, go, go outside and live every moment of the present. Let yourself indulge in all the small things that make life so great and be joyous. Trust that everything will be all right. And wish that the next year that is waiting around the corner will be even more superb!

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Renewal

Bulletproof

http://1cqgxm3l59yi2wwbnn3qy35h.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/sunroom-on-a-snowy-day-1-16.jpgShe woke up enveloped in her fluffy quilt. It was snowing outside, which resulted in it being freezing cold inside. It is strange, though, how she woke up far sleepier than when she went to bed late the night before. She decided to roll over and snooze the alarm clock one more time. But she had managed to wrap herself so tightly in the quilt that she couldn’t really move. It was easy to fall back asleep in the warmth of a comfortable bed.

The alarm clock buzzed for the third and last time.

Ashley knew that if she allowed herself to sleep through this one too, she would never get up in time. Andrew had challenged her to a cross-fit session that morning. She presumed it would be more fun if she went with a friend, and at least she might even go back for more after this one. Gyms were obviously not her favourite place.

But how do you convince yourself to get up in all that cold?

An email bleeped on her phone. The first thing she thought after reading it was that stupidity is everywhere. She was wide awake from aggravation as the message simply further demonstrated the incompetence of certain people who lack the capacity of comprehending their own limits and faults. She got up instantly and within half an hour was out of the door.

Working out does help your psychology. Because for that hour you are there, you manage to forget everything else. You become bulletproof. You are allowed to take out all your rage and aggravation, peaking your adrenaline levels, and then all of a sudden you feel so calm, as if nothing ever happened to distress you in the first place. It is certainly true what they say, that a healthy mind lives better in a healthy body, because it is not only about being physically fit that is important. It is about being happy about it too. About maintaining the proper attitude to be able to ignore certain things. To not allow trivial stuff to strike at your nerves. It is about reinforcing your organism’s shielding capacity and boosting your own mentality.

That way, even on freezing days, you can find the courage and determination to get out of bed, because you never know what an amazing day may lie ahead for you.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Ready, Set, Done

Snowy mistletoe

http://cache.desktopnexus.com/thumbseg/852/852154-bigthumbnail.jpgThe first snowflakes had hit the ground early at dew point. He was sleeping when they arrived. But that was the best surprise.

When he woke up, a white velvet carpet was awaiting him outside his window. The door needed a hard shove in order to open.

And then, as the frozen air slammed his face, it hit him. It was mid December. That season when everything suddenly seems so much nicer, so much more peaceful, more wonderful. The sparkling lights appeared even more brightly coloured now with the snowy background. People were more cheerful and smiles were abundant. It didn’t matter that it was so cold.

The only thing that mattered was that another year was slowly exiting, and everyone was striving to account for everything that had passed during these 12 months. It had to be good, so that the next ones would be even better and more fruitful.

It is the time when dreams are revived, ambitions reinvigorated, and emotions rekindled.

So when he saw the bright red mistletoe gleaming under the snowflakes on his frontfoor, he consciously knew that there will always be a light shining no matter how dark it gets. Surviving, no matter the weather.

The tomb of a king and the trouble of a peasant

Macedonian starIt was not every day you would visit a King. No matter if he was no longer alive. A King would forever be a King. And that was important and majestic in its own right. Billy had learnt to live with the bare necessities, as his farm would produce all he needed to live and some extras to sell at the market. That was all his income and how he managed to scrape by. So, to him, an audience with a King was something extraordinary. A true privilege. At least he thought so.

The discovery of the royal tomb found deep underground by archaeologists who had devoted a large part of their careers excavating in search of this, had taken the country by surprise. No-one expected they would be lucky enough or even blessed with the honor of witnessing at least some of the riches a past monarch had lived with. And to everyone’s delight, it was announced that this was the Warrior King, the General, the one who had united their country and who had made it the most prosperous in the region, at least during his reign. He was the figure that adorned their national currency, whose name was on countless of streets, buildings and auditoriums. He was the King children first learned about during their history lessons. And now, Billy would go see for himself the magnitude of his greatness.

Even that, though, was no easy task.

It was winter and a heavy one for that matter. The town had never been so snowed down for at least twenty years now. But it was a day when Billy did not have a market to go to and he wanted to escape the frost. The royal tombs were located an hour’s drive away, he was told.

So he went to the train station and purchased a return ticket. It wasn’t too expensive and he was already excited about his venture. Then the delay came.

The train had ran into some bad weather, which caused it to slow down. But it was not too bad, Billy thought. A half-hour delay would only mean he would have to read the inscriptions that accompanied each relic a bit faster now. The museum, after al,l was only open for five hours during the day. It was located in the very space the tomb was found, especially constructed so as to preserve and properly exhibit the findings. So it was only right that it would be open while still daylight – because, really, who would want to be touring a tomb after dark?DSC00784

So, anyway, Billy had an enjoyable train ride to his destination, although the heating seemed to not be working properly because by the time he had arrived he could not feel his feet. He thought two icicles were attached to his lower ends instead. Once off the train, he looked around, hoping to at least find a café where he could grab a hot drink to get his blood flowing normally again. But there was nothing.

Absolutely nothing. This station might as well have been located in the middle of his field. There was no sign of civilization around it. Nor any other train for that matter. There was only a bus, whose driver was hastily announcing that it was departing any minute now. Billy ran up to him and enquired how he could get to the royal tombs. The bus driver said it was another half hour from there but this bus would take him to the centre of the town and from them he would have to take another bus to go to the Museum.

Billy was already getting a headache. But there was no other way, so he took a seat on the bus (after paying of course) and tried to understand how his route would fan out now.

DSC00776It took Billy three and a half hours to finally arrive at the museum. You see, he unfortunately got on the wrong bus at the town centre and was driven off somewhere else, so by the time the next bus came he was already waiting for 20 minutes in the cold. And in this next bus, which rattled like a wooden cart drawn to market, the bus driver said that he should obtain his own ticket from the machine, but the machine would not cooperate, and he could not make any sense out of what the old men on the bus were trying to tell him. In the racket that was going on, he sensed that the stone gates and the large sign that said “Royal Tomb – Museum” was where he should get off. He thanked everyone, still not understanding their response and jumped off.

Billy was awed by the Museum. The Royal Tombs were strategically camouflaged under a hill that had turned white from the snow that was now falling heavily. As you walked inside, you could feel the imperialness overwhelm you. The gold jewelry, together with the silver blades, shields and weapons and other precious ornaments that were found in the sealed-off tomb sparkled in the darkness of the museum. It was all too much for words. It was so much more than Billy ever imagined. There was even the exact entrance of the royal burial chamber, left just as it was found by the archaeologists. You could just feel the magnificence it emanated and the chills that would have filled the very people who first discovered this.

Macedonian-queen's-wreathBilly was enthralled and enraptured by every piece of that museum. So much, that he did not even realise he had seen it all, twice, and that it was now time to go. He had to hurry back if he was to catch the last train home.

But did he have to scramble with bus routes again? Fortunately, there was a tourist group leaving the museum at the same time, and he was smart and lucky enough to smuggle into the back of the bus without being seen; he was small enough and looked foreign so he could easily be assumed to be one of the group. The only problem was, he didn’t know where the bus was heading to.

The group stopped for lunch somewhere, and Billy jumped off, noticing that a bus with the same number as the one that brought him from the station was about to depart across the street. He ran again and jumped in. “I bet the Kings didn’t have such problems,” he thought to himself as he arrived at the train station still panting.

DSC00815Just as he got off the bus, the train stationmaster appeared, straightening his thick white moustache, and pulling up his trousers to cover his oversized belly. It was snowing very heavily now and the train tracks could not even be seen.

I’m afraid you’re gonna have to find alternative transport, young man. There are no trains passing tonight.

Billy froze. Literally. You could stick a hat on him and call him a snowman.

The bus driver who had just dropped him off felt pity for him and offered to take him to the suburban bus station, where after more expenses and another couple of hours, Billy was finally back home, wrapped under a blanket in front of the fireplace.

It’s no easy task visiting a King!

 

N.B. 1 This story was inspired by a visit to the Macedonian Royal Tombs in Vergina, Greece and the adventure to get there.

N.B. 2. The photos are mine, taken in Aegae (Vergina) and Veria respectively on 30 December 2014.

Snowy pearls

snowy snowmanSomewhere around the globe, where the snow had already spread its unblemished tapestry, a young boy was still waiting for Santa Claus. He hoped he would bring him a New Year that would be radically different from the one that was just days from becoming history. This one had simply not lived up to his expectations.

Frederick was a strong young man. He had learned to survive the hardships and no matter what life struck him with, he would rise stronger. Until now. This year had broken him. He was forced to deal with loss, with pain, with anguish, with unemployment, with being broke, with disappointment, with having his expectations built-up only to have them crushed, with break-ups, with heartache, and it just seemed to be getting dimmer. There was no light at the end of the tunnel anymore and that was what hurt him the most.

It was snowing outside. The temperature had fallen to below zero already and you could feel the cold nipping at your nose the minute you stepped out of the door. Frederick decided to stay indoors, with the fireplace lit. He was sitting on the small couch by the window with a hot cocoa in hand, staring at the snow spreading like a white fluffy carpet outside.

He could feel the melancholy gripping onto him. It was this time of the year when he felt more alone, when he pondered on what he wished his life was like, and realized what it was not. He wanted so much more of life itself – a partner, a family, wonderful moments to share and people to experience them with. It all meant nothing if he was simply stuck in a dead-end. He wrapped the red fleece blanket around his legs; the cold was creeping in as the sun set.

Frederick wanted to believe that this New Year would be different. That it would finally be the year when his life would improve, when he would manage to realise his dreams and achieve his ambitions. He wanted to be happy and at least look back and be content with the life he led.

That is what he wanted Santa Claus to bring. A new year that would have things go his way, or at least in the same direction he would like them to. He knew it was a difficult thing to ask, but nonetheless he believed. He had to believe in something after all.

He fell asleep there, wrapped in the blanket, with the fire glazing inside, and the snow silently falling outside.

When he woke up the next day, the fire had already extinguished itself and the sun was trying to peek out from behind the clouds. There was a snowman staring at him outside his window – complete with two thin sticks for arms and a carrot for a nose. He even had pebbles formed in the shape of a smile. Frederick smiled. Maybe it was the kids in the neighbourhood who had created Mr Frosty. Either way, it was a very welcome and very pleasant surprise.

But that was not all.

Right in front of the fireplace there was a little blue box. Frederick could swear that was not there before. And he was certain all the doors were locked so no-one could have gotten in without being heard. He got up and picked up the box. It was feather-light. He opened it slowly – who knows what could jump out.

In the centre of the velvet interior was a white pearl. And at the back of the box cover there was writing. “A pearl of wisdom because every year that passes, no matter the pain, the heartache and the suffering, will always make you wiser, more mature and more knowledgeable. Life will hand you many such pearls, it is up to you what you will decide to do with them. Never give up.”

It was not signed.

Frederick’s pulse raced. Could this be the sign he was longing for? The optimism that he needed for a favourable new year?

To him it was. Because sometimes, all it takes is the smallest of things to remind you that what matters most cannot be seen.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Mystery Box

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