Love and SnowbyABSTRUSE©
Waiting in this empty world,
Waiting for Then, when the life spray cools.
For Now does ride in on the curl of the wave,
And you will dance with me in the sunlit pools.
We are of the going water and the gone.
We are of water in the holy land of water
And all that's to come runs in
With the thrust on the strand."
Kate Bush, "Jig of Life"
Gabriel viewed the village from a flat rock jutting from the mountainside. A morning storm had covered the land in a shimmering blanket of snow. Streams of smoke rose from the chimneys, slithering and coiling upward. The lights from the dwelling windows were pinpricks that twinkled like the fireflies he watched on summer nights.
He closed his eyes and smiled as he felt the wind lift his wings; the snowflakes making his feathers glisten. The snowy moonlit night of deep blue and pearl reminded him of Heaven. Gabriel visited Earth four times a year to enjoy the change of the seasons. He loved winter best of all.
This time it was more than a visit, he was here to take someone back to Heaven. Normally, Archangels did not perform such duties but this soul was special to him; it was his namesake. This soul had requested to go to Earth for a reason and Gabriel had granted the request.
He was so caught up in listening to the song of the wind that he didn't hear the tiny angel approach.
The angel sat next to Gabriel, pushing close to the Archangel's body.
"Blessings, Little One."
Gabriel wrapped his wing around the tiny form and smiled as he watched the tiny figure peering over at the village with fascination.
"How beautiful it all looks."
"Ah, I see you have discovered beauty. Tell me what you feel."
The little angel thought for a moment.
"I feel warmth and joy. A celebration is under way and…"
The Archangel drew his wing tighter around the little angel and took her hand in his. He let her take in what was happening below for a few moments before he spoke.
"Did you learn what you wanted to learn?"
"I'm not sure. My time was so brief."
Gabriel thought for a moment. There was no hurry for them to get back, no time limits for angels.
"Come with me," he said and picked up the little angel. They were soon inside one of the homes in the village.
The humans were busy preparing for Christmas. A man and boy were decorating a huge Christmas tree. An old woman placed a large box on the table, opened the lid and unwrapped a beautiful ornament, carefully stored in tissue paper. This was the family heirloom, handed down through generations and the ornament traditionally placed first on the tree.
The heirloom was handed down in her family for generations and would continue with her children one day.
A young girl was busy at the kitchen table placing raisin eyes on the gingerbread men - her little fingers pressing them down into the spicy dough while she tucked her tongue into the corner of her mouth. Decorating cookies was serious business.
"You're doing a wonderful job with those cookies. " the older sister remarked as she came into the room carrying several wrapped packages. She snuck a few raisins from the bowl and turned to her mother. "I have the sweaters all wrapped and ready to go. You made three more than last year."
"Well, the weatherman says it's going to be a cold winter and everyone should be warm."
The youngest girl stopped for a brief moment admiring her decorating. "Mama, why do you make all those sweaters to give away to people you don't know?"
"Because there are some people out there who don't have warm clothes for the winter and it's proper to give them something that will make them feel special."
"I know what makes them so special."
"You do, baby? And what would that be?"
"You knit Love into each one of them."
Gabriel felt the little angel squeeze his hand and looked down to see her smiling at the scene before her.
"Time to go, "he said.
"Already? But this place is so nice and warm."
"I have more for you to see, little one."
They were soon in a dark alleyway where a man was waiting near a car. He blew on his fingers to keep them warm.
Soon, another figure approached saying, "You got it?"
"Yep. You got the money?"
"Yeah I got the money. Six hundred bucks is a rip off."
"Hey, I got a guy who'll give me more if you don't want it. You can't get these things anyplace else right now. This is probably the only one left in the city but if you don't want it…"
"Yea I want it. Here." The second man handed an envelope to the first man. "It's all there, you can count it."
The first man fingered through the stack of bills and, satisfied, went into the car's trunk to retrieve a box.
"I must be nuts to do this but if my kid doesn't get this game player, Christmas will be hell in my house." He took the box from the other man. "Are you sure it's all here?"
"I'm sure, but just so you know, all sales are final."
"Merry Christmas to you too." snarled the man as he walked back to the street and disappeared around the corner.
The little angel hid behind the safety of Gabriel's wings and buried her face. She didn't like this place, it felt angry and cold.
"You can come out now child; we are someplace safe."
They stood by a bed in a dark room where a woman lay awake, her eyes red from crying. She stared straight ahead, her thoughts far away. The little angel went over to her and touched her face, immediately feeling the sadness.
"She grieves for you child."
"Why is she sad? I thought she loved me?" the little angel asked as she touched the woman's blonde curls.
"It's because she loves you that she is sad. A mother's Love is deep and strong. Her heart hurts for loss of the soul she carried and nurtured for so many weeks. She can't understand why you had to leave."
"She doesn't feel me with her anymore does she?"
"She can't right now, child; she is numb to such feelings. Mortals go through this when they lose someone they love."
"I feel her love, I have always felt it. She would sing to me and talk to me. I know the sound of her heartbeat, her breathing, her laugh and her touch."
"The bond of love between a mother and child is so powerful that it is felt in Heaven. It is so pure and brings such joy. It is without conditions. It is selfless. A mother will quickly give up her own soul for that of her child if she feels the need."
"My mother would have done that. I felt it. I tried to stay, I tried so very hard."
"You couldn't. You asked to know what Love was and that was a gift to you." Gabriel placed his hand on her shoulder. "Do you know how much your mother loved you? She loved you so much that she knew she had to let you go."
"Even though it would hurt her and make her sad?"
"Yes because that is part of what Love is, child. It's letting go of something or someone who hurts not because the love is weak, but because it is so very strong." He smiled at the woman on the bed. "You picked a very good mother to be born to little one, she is gentle and beautiful. She has an incredible soul and a heart that holds much Love."
"It hurts me that she is sad," the little angel said as she kissed her mother's hand.
"She won't be sad forever. She will think of you and wonder about you, how you would have grown up, what you would learn in your life, the woman you would become. Though she will always feel your loss, she will also remember the joy of having you with her. How you felt growing inside of her. Seeing you for the first time and holding you next to her when you left."
The tiny angel moved the woman's blonde locks away from her ear and pressing her lips close, whispered, "Thank you, Mummy."
"You will see her again many times over, she may not know you and you may not know her but you will feel that bond every time you meet."
"Does that mean I get to come back to Earth?"
"Yes you may and you will . . . you are part of a cycle. You will be with your mother again and again. As your spirit grows, you will know each other."
They were no longer in the room but in a field outside where the village stood. The snow was falling in big fluffy flakes around them.
"She is gone."
"No child, she is always with you because you are connected by your souls. Now tell me, do you understand Love a little more?"
"I understand the love I share with my mother."
"Ahh, but it's much more than that; it's bigger than you can imagine, you have only touched upon it."
"What do you mean?"
"Remember the house and the family? Remember the men in the alley?"
"Yes but what does that have to do with Love?"
"Mortals express Love in many ways, they love each other but they also love 'things' as well. A family is founded on Love. Parents show their children Love and teach them to love. They teach and learn compassion for others; that is why the woman makes sweaters for people she doesn't know. Her compassion compels her to love strangers who are in need and she teaches this to her children. Not all people are kind."
"Like the men in the alley?"
"Those men may be kind but greed takes on a different form of Love. They love money and things money can buy. The man buying the game is buying his child's Love. The gift is from want - not need. The man selling the game loves money and its power over people. This kind of love is not healthy and it hurts your soul. They have forgotten what love is."
"Then Love is difficult."
"No Love is easy. Love is like snow."
"How can Love be like snow? Snow is frozen water."
"I want you to put out your hands, palms upward to God please? Then spread your wings and close your eyes. Just listen to what I say."
The little angel unfolded her wings and raised her hands in front of her as Gabriel asked. She knew that she was about to learn something amazing; he taught her so many wonderful things. She smiled thinking about how he was named after her, Gabrielle.
"Feel the snow landing on your hands, your face; your wings…do not see it as cold water. Just feel it. Feel its weight as it lands on you . . . how each flake joins with the next. See it in your mind. Each flake is unique, like a soul. Alone, it is beautiful but when it joins with others, it becomes so much more."
Gabrielle felt the flakes. She saw the ice crystals and their patterns, watching as they joined together. The intricate designs gave way to a larger shape as they built upon one another and became one.
"Now imagine the snow as it melts and rises to the clouds. It becomes water again, but it is still snow in a different form. Ancient water that has come to earth - again and again, water from sweat and tears, water that has touched each person, replenished them, surrounded them. It gives life but it can also be devastating. It is beautiful, yet has the potential to be ugly. It is bigger than anything around us."
"Yes child, like Love. It is always with us. Like each snowflake has its own beauty, weaknesses and stability. Open your eyes."
Gabrielle opened her eyes to see the snow had built up in her hands, she felt it on her wings and in her hair. She was not cold as it blanketed her in its warmth. She was one with this element, a part of something much more complex.
"I understand now Gabriel. Love is life! It's why we exist. It is what makes Heaven and Earth so beautiful. I never knew it was so immeasurable. Thank you for letting me know this and feel it."
"Thank you for wanting to know this, child." He brushed the snow from her wings and took her tiny hand in his.
"Do we need to go back now?"
He looked across the snow covered valley, feeling the exhilaration of the cold and snow. A smile spread across his face and he knelt down to look in her eyes. "No Gabrielle, we can stay here in the snow."
She threw her arms around his neck and kissed his cheek.
He whispered in her ear…"Have you ever heard of Snow Angels?"
* * *
Dedicated to the memory of Gabrielle Paula Kaplan ~2006~
A tear shed in love is a tear unwasted.
Love, life, time, eternity and tears,
God bless Gabrielle
and keep her safe,.
Our Snow Angel.