Winter's Warmth

By Leslie Chandler

Last night there was a most beautiful moment. After exiting a store, I felt my enthusiasm to embrace the day begin to diminish. It had been a long, bitterly cold winter Thursday and I was dreaming of the steaming hot bowl of leftover stew waiting for me at home.

As I was waiting impatiently for the passing cars to clear so I could cross the parking lot, I sighed and looked up. At that precise moment, right in front of where I stood, the fading sun suddenly emerged from behind heavy clouds to land on the horizon, and a glorious array of pinks and oranges burst across the sky. A yellow trail of warmth shot up above the sun, giving it the appearance of a comet's tail, and above that, a blazing pink pillar of light shot straight to the heavens. I gaped, transfixed. I took out my cell phone, balancing bags in my arms while attempting to snap the moment.

A stranger paused beside where I stood, smiled and took out his cell phone. Suddenly, we were connected by our gratitude for this unexpectedly surreal moment. That it was so brief made it that much more special. We commented on the beauty before us, while across the lot I noticed a woman leant against a car as if waiting for someone, oblivious to all but the cold. I resisted the urge to shout across the parked cars to her, to look behind her, quickly! The stranger and I shared smiles, genuinely happy and warm New Year’s greetings, and parted.

As quickly as it had appeared, the moment was gone. The pillar of light lowered as the sun sank across the horizon, the colours faded and became obscured once more by heavy snow clouds hanging there on the edge of the earth.

All the way home, I smiled.