Inside the depths of an autumn overcast, through the drifting shale mists, among the vast quadrillion molecules following the same gray path in a dismal entourage, a single droplet crystalizes and becomes an infinitely complex shape of its own. It awakens.
It sees the droplets around it, their slow, dismal march to nowhere. Had that once been itself? There is something better than what is here, not at the end of this current, but down below where none of its kind have looked before. That strange world, forbidden and ignored, suddenly beckons its new glimmering heart. The cloud no longer bears its weight and the snowflake can no longer bear the monotony. It embarks on a voyage.
The snowflake descends, unlatched from the overcast, riding on a chilly wind in skips and soaring arcs, buffeted by updrafts of the stratosphere. The white puffs of cloud fall away and the snowflake beholds the new world.
Great bald mountains rear up to the heavens like gates from the old world of the gray. The snowflake soars over the flat expanse of glacier and follows above a stream of sparkling turquoise, which flows and cascades down the mountainside and through a growing wilderness. Stately pines emerge and the snowflake drifts by the banks where the last blooming flowers wither and fade among thickets. Farther along the river, the waters leap and churn, the evergreens close in and surround the sides like rows of great red columns. Then the stream plummets and the trees suddenly open into an expanse of rolling hills, a soft meadow descending into the valley.
As the snowflake glides by the pastures the grass sways in gentle harmony so much like the marching clouds. The cattle lift their heads at the sight of the first snowflake. A stone bridge arches over the stream. A thatched roof cottage is cuddled into the face of the valley, gentle smoke rising from its chimney, and a wretched cough comes from within.
The snowflake whirls in the air and changes course, finds a window and settles onto the glass to see. A boy lays in bed, feverish and pale, shivering beneath a small patched blanket. The fireplace only glows faintly with embers and there is no more wood left. On the far wall the door opens and his mother enters. She approaches the bedside, bows and puts her face beside his and whispers prayers. If only it could, the snowflake would fall on his cheek, but a sudden gust catches the snowflake and carries it away.
It swirls up towards the sky. To have the sun glinting upon its diamond dress, to dance and soar so far from the crowded world of the dead in the sky, and to watch the world of the living in all its colors and splendor, it must mean the snowflake has reached the promised land whispered among its droplet companions. It ascends higher and higher and sings with its silent beauty to the lost ones seeking in the heavens.
There is soft silence. Then a new snowflake comes drifting down, casting a welcoming glimmer as it falls beside the first snowflake. Another follows, and then more, until the sky becomes a brilliant star-shower with the arrival of its brethren. The snowflake joins the great white exodus as it migrates to the earth, spinning, twirling, dancing onto grass and wood and stone. It joins its voice with the ageless chorus and sings peace everlasting. The world is changed. The world is created anew. The world is given clean new robes and invited to dwell in the house of angels.
Important Note: Because publishers will never accept a story that has already been posted on the internet, these stories will be taken down once I begin to submit them to magazines. So relish the read while you still can…