Sarah had known when Conrad took this job that their lives would change. They sold their beautiful home and moved to a place that held no warmth or memories. The Yukon was a place she never thought she would find herself. Thinking of the distance from her hometown was enough to send her into a spiraling depression. In a place like this, family was the only thing she wanted. Winter, isolation, and constant wind pushed at the windows. The gusts howled and raged through the eaves of the old house, an immutable reminder of the unbearable cold. It swept away the leaves and left the barren winter. Sarah's mind reeled at the thought of another three months of this torture.
Sarah stared out of the ice-licked window. Jack Frost had done his job well, knitting a lacy pattern all through. What she saw through the thin pane of glass did nothing to dispel her sour mood. The streets were as barren as the trees that lined her walk. She turned from her view of the outside world and held her thin arms tightly around herself. Rubbing her arms clothed in a thick wool sweater did nothing to dissipate the cold that seemed to permeate her soul.
She needed something to warm her and take her mind off the northern winter. Tea. She would have a cup of tea now and relax for a time. Conrad had left for the office early and the children were at school for at least another two hours. Tea always made her feel better. At the very least the hum of the kettle would kill the sound of the wind. She had a great many chores that she should attend to: unpacking boxes, dirty dishes and endless laundry. Soon the house would be full and busy and the very hum of her family would be comforting in the cold.
Now she wanted to hold herself and keep the quiet of her soul whilst her hands cupped a warm tea. She pushed the graying hairs off her face and leaned against the old gas range. As Sarah waited for the kettle to boil, she wondered yet again how they could have made this move. The answer was there as plain as the frost on the windows. Conrad needed it and so it was to be. His career had always come first in their life together. This move was no different and she really didn't expect anything else. The rest of the family would find a way to cope and survive in this space they would now call home.
When she and Conrad were younger, his constant ambition was hope for her. She would have the nice things in life and her children would go to the best schools. The sacrifice meant nothing in those days. Her youth and innocence sheltered her from seeing what wealth really bought. Conrad's idea of security had never coincided with hers, and it was not until the finality of this move that she realized how foolish she was.
Tea in hand, Sarah sat down on the old rocker that had once been grandpa's. It had a comforting creak. She could remember being soothed by the gentle noise as she fell asleep in loving arms. Even now the warmth of the memory began to slowly thaw her soul. She cradled the warm tea and gently rocked, letting the sound of the wind pass by her awareness. Sarah leaned her head back and closed her eyes remembering the strong arms that had once promised her the world. The sweetness of the memory brought tears to her eyes.
Her grandfather had always had the right answers and the best hugs when she was a little girl. He always knew when no amount of reasoning would help and when to just be still and listen. He was the one she always went to when she needed to be loved with unconditional devotion. His memory was so strongly etched upon her soul that she could even conjure up his wonderful scent as she rocked. The musky smell of a man too long outside wafted around her head like a protective angel. Now when she needed to be loved and warmed more than ever before in her life she could feel him.
As Sarah rocked she slowly opened her eyes and let them focus on the mess of boxes in the next room. From the corner of her vision she caught sight of something sticking out of an overstuffed box. Without thinking, she rose and walked to the box. She drew out the treasure and returned to her spot. Lovingly, she unwrapped the quilt. It was yellowed with time and use. As she gently unfolded the corners she was careful not to rend what was left of this precious memory. With the intimacy of a lifetime of shared dreams she wrapped the delicate blanket around her shoulders. Her slender hands firmly held what warmth she could to her shivering body.
Her Grandmother also had given her many memories. She could remember spending endless hours in the kitchen baking pies and canning anything and everything that came out of their garden. Her grandmother was always busy and never had time to sit and cuddle a weary child. What she did have time for was listening and laughing as they baked and sewed together. She brought forth the memory of her grandmother's strong hands and saw their red creases as a new quilt was embroidered or a loaf of bread was shaped. She could hear her grandmother's firm voice as she schooled her granddaughter in the art of knitting.
She sat there rocking in grandfather's chair and holding her grandmother's quilt tight to her body. The tea in her hands again she let herself wander amidst her memories. The steam caressed her fears and ever so gently pushed the worries from her mind. Here she was in a strange place that she did not like. Yet, she had found a warm and loving home. Things were not the way she wanted. She would probably never get used to the wind or the cold. However, she had brought her comforts with her. Her memories were here and she could summon them at will now.
The wind still howled through the corridors of the old attic. The winter was still an awesome and powerful enemy. And yet somehow she had found hope in her past. Sitting here rocking back and forth with her grandparents firmly holding tight to her she had found the peace she needed to face the rest of the day if not the rest of the winter.
Julia Rosien is the very lucky Mom of four children. She has spent the last ten years devoted to them, filling her days with chores only someone filled with awe could do. The babes are growing up now and Mom is stretching her wings. She has started writing again and is delighted to be a part of this season's Moondance. This story is only the beginning for Julia. She hopes to write a novel as well as inspirational non-fiction. Her e-mail address is email@example.com
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