Updated: Nov 25, 2019
Night has descended on the desolate, cold prairie. The vaulted night sky, painted with the encouraging stars, is obscured with dreary, heavy clouds. Bitter winds whip up biting swirls of powdery, searing snow, sanding the frozen ground raw and bare, seething through narrow gullies, making fine-edged drifts here and there. Nothing but cold grey darkness above, and icy bitterness below. A few darkened figures, hunched to keep warm, make their way to a humble log cabin just off a gravel road. Warm, golden light shines from its windows, reflecting on the swirling snow. It invites and draws each of the traveling shivering souls. Lonely Cold drives the hearts of these men here by this Fire. They huddle together by the great golden hearth, ablaze with crackling logs and glowing with light. Slowly their numbness and pain melts away. And as the swirling, soothing tongues of fire thaw and warm them, cheer and joviality are awakened. Cold, who sought only the discomfort of men, has shown the men some common ground: their lonely thin skins cannot stand up to winter’s gnawing blasts. Outside the small house, a solitary man stands. He’s drawn by the window’s warm golden glow, the fire, the sound of good cheer; but a spirit hovers beside him, draws him away, whispering “You’re strong enough, and you’ve no time! Go on your way!” He shuffles on, his heart aches, and he wishes he’d stopped in just for a bit. Separated from the merry troupe within, this solitary soul Cold snatches and claims him who lingered too long, who stood apart from the cheer. Luring the fool, Cold whistles his haunting tunes, wrapping the man in bands of swirling jewels, brushing his eyelids with fringes of sugared frost. Bitterness only is left, a corpse, mummified by Frost. Just meters away, back in the humble wooden house, the Cold’s grip has melted away, though his reality is known and respected by all within. The hearth Fire gleams brightly, and reflects its ruddy glow on the faces of the humble poor souls, warming their hearts besieged by the frosty icy chill. The great Fire spreads Its flames, and late into the night stories are told, laughs ring out, songs are sung. Numbness is washed away, pain soothed, strength restored. When the embers die down, and the travelers continue on their way, the Fire lives on, sparked in the hearts of the jubilant men, carried across the chilling tundra of the world in the lanterns of their souls.