Snow was falling with more vigour than an agitated snow globe; I couldn’t see anything and turned what I thought was a little to the left, imagining I was turning off the road into a hillock of snow: there was a blue-whiteness to the scene now.
Ploughing through, I began to sense some energy, who knows how far off, yet there was a tangible pulse ahead and as I looked up, there was a vaguely discernible glow that increasingly drew me forward; the blizzard was made somehow softer, less cold, more like a series of caresses on my previously frozen face.
The vague yet comforting glow grew, its pulse intensified with each step I took towards what was taking on the outline of a village, its houses arranged a little like a Christmas tree with attendant lights, and its bright, joyous parcels of energy, and, yes, love in each singular and simultaneously massed brightness.
I picked my feet up as if they were becoming weightless, as if I were almost surfing the deep drifts of white candyfloss. My spirit, previously in a state akin to despair, began to dance towards the energies of light.
As I reached the wonderful warmth of the red brick and light grey stone of which the place was constructed, my ears were beautifully flicked by a tingling, festive music. The joyful sound was made up of hearty notes and crisp and even voices forming a Yuletide huddle, warming me and lifting the last of any residual anxiety and sadness I’d felt when realising I was lost on the road without a plan.
Now, amongst the festive energy, I was nothing short of elated. I reached out to push an already open door and was greeted by the soothing smell of a mince pie; the glorious colours of decorations; the gorgeous smell of pine, and a music of untrammelled joy exuding from all the faces gathered around the piano just to the left of a bejewelled tree. A roaring fire like a wild heart sang in accompaniment to the incredible vibrancy of voices raised in harmonious devotional carolling.
Someone playfully threw a towel so I could dry myself off, as I melted like a warming snowman. My shoes had filled with water that had fallen from my body, and I squelched my way to the fireplace; a smile ironically frozen on my face. I tingled all over as I thawed and felt warm and safe amongst these joyous strangers. It wasn’t long before I overcame my reticence and added my voice to the throng. I felt as happy as I can remember: memories of my childhood flooded into my mind and gave me a feeling of floating.
Remarkably, after many carols and Christmas hymns, all the folks had energy enough to begin handing out the presents; which meant that so much time had passed that it was past midnight and we were enjoying Christmas Day. A youngster emerged from the happy group with a brightly decorated small oblong and moved towards me. I thought she was going to open and show her present but, instead, she handed me the present and wished me a very Merry Christmas. I was astounded and puzzled. How can I be receiving a present? Did they know I was coming? It was pure accident that I became lost and happened upon this village, wasn’t it? I thanked the kind little tyke before she encouraged me to open the wholly surprising gift.
I teased all who had begun to watch me by taking off the wrapping meticulously, as someone intending to keep the paper. I revealed a small wooden box, and I opened it to reveal…a silver coated compass! How I laughed with untrammelled joy.