A Christmas story
© Chris Meredith
It was deep mid-winter. Snow lay on the ground and barely a bird could be seen in the clear, blue sky.
Children were wrapped up in their hats and coats, ice drops appearing on their noses. Dogs were bounding after snowballs thrown high into the air. Adults were building snowmen, laughing, and chatting to each other as they returned to the joys of their childhood.
Soon the light faded, and the adults, children and dogs slowly and tiredly made their way home.
Silence – until the wind came.
The wind had travelled from oceans far away to be here, gathering speed and ferocity and anger. Static objects only mildly interrupted it. The next objects it encountered were a group of trees that still had bedraggled leaves clinging on for dear life on them.
The wind smiled as it raced to blow the remaining leaves off the tree. A huge puff should do it. Breathing in deeply, the wind blew its cold, wintry breath over the leaves. And within seconds, every tree branch became bare.
The wind stopped a while to catch its breath. As it did so, it noticed a beautiful robin sitting on one of the bare branches. The robin smiled and said to the wind; “You’re a bit of a bully, aren’t you?”
The wind, taken aback, started to blow fiercely at the little robin, making him fall off the branch and onto the white ground below. The wind towered over the robin and glowered at him. The robin simply fluffed his feathers and hopped and danced in a circle in the snow, not showing an ounce of concern.
“There you are, said the robin. You ARE a bully!”
The anger of the wind dissipated and he started to sob gently.
“I am sorry little robin, I know of no other way to behave. It is in my nature to behave like this”, he explained.
The robin hopped on one foot, then the other and was deep in thought.
“Would you like to change your nature wind, the one that is angry sometimes?” he said.
“I would love to”, wailed the wind, “but I just don’t know how.”
The robin beckoned the wind to pick him up which the wind gladly did, asking, “Take me to that cloud you can see high.”
The wind was intrigued and gently carried the robin to the cloud.
“The cloud is called the wishes cloud and inside this cloud you will find the Christmas wishes of some of our human friends from Cleeve Lodge Residential Home. To see them you must softly breathe on the cloud.”
The wind followed the robin’s instructions and the cloud parted as he breathed onto it. All at once there appeared the faces of Ken, Mary, Elsie, Gordon, Dot, Lilian, Sylvia, and Tom. “Now”, said robin, “please take me back to the tree where you first met me and then you must go and make their wishes come true. Can you do that?”
The wind nodded and smiled as he swept the robin back to the tree in one huge breath.
“Good luck” said robin – “God’s speed to you.”
The wind turned and moved quickly above the land and hovered above Cleeve Lodge.
He could see Mary and Ken playing out in the fields, knee deep in snow and laughing. Elsie was wrapping up Christmas presents, Gordon and Dot were singing Christmas songs. While all the other residents were tucked up inside, snug and warm.
With a shake of his head the wind rushed over the fields where Ken and Mary were playing and then rushed into an open window at Cleeve Lodge. He tore around the house, brushing the heads of everyone he touched. The care assistants rushed to close the window, but the wind swept through it and was gone.
The wind had what he wanted. He had gathered all the memories of the residents and raced to the wishes cloud. Once there he blew the cloud with all his might and the residents’ Christmas memories tumbled from him and into the cloud of wishes.
Their memories were from distant Christmases past.
Lilian was cuddling a baby doll named Lilly who was enjoying being fed with pretend milk. Mary was kissing a toy panda and pushing it in a dolls pram. Philip was kicking an old leather football, Gordon was pushing a train around a track, Ken was playing a musical instrument while Tom had an array of plastic farm animals. They were children, they were happy and carefree. The whole of their life stretched before them.
The wishes cloud recreated the toys they were playing with. The wind blew them towards Cleeve Lodge and magically wrapped them in Christmas paper as he blew.
They tumbled from the sky, down the chimney and rested under the Christmas tree.
Christmas Day came, and the residents eagerly opened the mysterious presents under the tree. As each one was opened, a special memory of childhood was evoked. All the residents remembered with glee the happy, carefree life they had many moons ago.
Chris Meredith is a writer based in Windsor with a passion for poetry.
He conducts therapeutic poetry sessions at care homes in Berkshire, Surrey and Hampshire sharing his love of the form at weekends since 2015.
His first anthology Words of My Life was published in 2014 and is available through Amazon.
Chris has recently launched a website featuring his work, please visit chris-meredith.co.uk