Not only are the holidays over, but we are already in the fourth day of the new year. We just arrived home on Wednesday and I spent most of the day Thursday taking down the Christmas decorations. We had a great visit with the family in New Jersey and our friends in Poughkeepsie. It was cold and one day we were pretty much snowed in. Big snowflakes floated down all day.
I had brought my laptop along and decided to try a creative writing exercise to pass the time. The instructions were that the story begin with “The snow fell…”, and end with a twist. With it being Christmas and all, and snowing to boot, here’s what I came up with.
Where do writers find their inspiration? Perhaps this is how one legend began…
The Stuff of Legends
Snow fell like a box of soap flakes shaken wildly in the hands of a young child. Large clumps settled on the frozen ground in mounds and drifts of white. The snowflakes fell in curtains, hurtling down in perfect formation from sky to earth , as if with the intent to change the landscape into the vista of an alien world.
The traveler, lost in the folds of his heavy coat, pulled his wide brimmed hat over his eyes and buried his chin into the woolen scarf wrapped round his neck. He walked slowly, tensing his leg muscles to pull his feet free from the heavy, clinging snow, each step an effort which added to his growing fatigue. He was lost in this frozen wilderness and each flake that touched him seemed to penetrate his clothes, seeking to crystallize him from the inside out.
An eerie stillness surrounded him, and he felt as if he had been transported to another world. The silence wrapped round him like a cocoon and ethereal shapes seemed to form and drift before his eyes.
He fought the urge to close his eyes and fall into the downy snow and rest, just for a few minutes. It looked so soft, so inviting…And then he heard the unmistakable sound of tinkling harness bells, somewhere up ahead. He peered through the curtain of snow and vaguely made out the shapes of horses and a sleigh.
“Whoa-ho, boys,” he heard a voice shout. And out of the swirling snow emerged a fellow, dressed warmly in furs and sturdy boots, his hair frosted white with snow beneath his cap, cheeks cherry red from the cold.
“My, my, stranger”, he said,” what brings you out on such a night, in such a desolate place?”
“I was on my way to the village of Amesbury to visit friends when I became lost in the snow,“ the traveler replied.
“Well, let me help you into my sleigh. I’ve never heard of Amesbury but there is a village nearby. I’m sure someone there will shelter you for the night. I am on my way there to deliver some goods,” he said, pointing to a large sack lying in the back of the sleigh.
The traveler climbed into the sleigh with a thankful sigh. The hearty fellow jumped in and grabbed the reins. “Onward-ho, boys,” he shouted to the horses.
Within a few minutes, the traveler saw lights ahead, the warm glow of the village homes, softening the dark and cold of the night.
“Here you are, my friend, the fellow said, “the village of Legend.”
Odd name for a village, the traveler thought. He shook hands with the jolly fellow. “How can I return your kindness, Sir?” the traveler asked.
“If you would take this sack to the village and leave a package at each abode, I would be most grateful. They are poor but proud. They frown on handouts, but gifts left in the night, now that’s the stuff of legends.”
. There was that word again – legends. “Are you a writer, Sir? “ the traveler asked.
The man laughed .” I do dabble with the written word, now and again,” he replied.
The traveler climbed down and grabbed the heavy sack. “I will do as you ask. Thank you, again, for your kindness.”
“It is I who thank you,. The storm has slowed my progress and It’s late, you see. I’ve a young daughter waiting for me at home, to tell her a story before bed.” As he turned and grabbed the reins, he asked, “By the way, what is your name, my friend?”
“Nick. My name is Nick.”
“Ah, and so it is.” said the fellow. “Nick it will be..”
“I don’t understand, Sir , what do you mean?”
“Ah, remember, it’s the stuff of legends, my friend.”
And with that his horses sprang forward and disappeared, lost in the heavy snow.“And your name, my friend. What is your name?” Nick shouted into the night.
As if from far away came the faint reply.
“Moore. Clement Moore.”
Nick flung the sack on his back and headed into Legend and into the hearts of us all!
The End…or the beginning?
Despite the snow, I was able to join some of my high school friends, which included my sister-in-law, Pat,and friends Joanne and Janice for a High Tea at “High Societea” My niece, Becky, and her friend, Sheralyn, accompanied us. The food was excellent, although the service was a bit slow. The place was charming, however, and we had a good time.
We also traveled to Poughkeepsie and visited with our good friends, Denise and Geoff and their daughters and adorable grandchildren.
So we ended 2012 with good times with friends and family. Now it’s time to look ahead to the new year and all the possibilities it holds in store for us. May it be one of peace and prosperity for us all!