The Afternoon Nap, Chapter 4 – The Angel

If I ever needed some winter magic, it would turn out to be today.

I had finally made my much-needed trip to the grocery store this morning because the blizzard was arriving later today and my cupboards were empty. I did not even have a crumb to leave for a mouse.

Instead of listening to an updated weather report before I left the house, I spent the morning listening to my new holiday CD and then I just headed out the door. The store is not that far away from my home so it never occurred to me that the world would look completely different from the time that I entered the store to the time that I left. As I arrived at the checkout counter in the grocery store, I was greeted by a huge surprise…and a very frantic store clerk who did not know how they were going to get home. The blizzard that was predicted to hit for the afternoon had blown in early and with a vengeance. To call it a “white-out” was putting it mildly. You could not see a thing out the windows except for blinding brightness. Holy mackerel!

The store clerk who was bagging my groceries asked if I would please help so that they could clear the store of customers and close early. I usually help bag so I willingly abliged in an effort to hasten my transaction along. I was not going to be the one that held up the store’s closing process and although I did not live that far away, I was getting eager to get out and get home. I had not been in the store that long and if the storm had that much energy as it started, I could only guess what was to come. For a brief moment I wondered if there was anything else that I needed in the crazy event that this was the blizzard of the century and I was home bound for a week or more, but the look of panic on the clerk’s face made me abort that thought and gather up my bags. I could make it work and we all just needed to get home.

When I stepped outside it was surreal. The piercing coldness of the swirling wind and snow took my breath away and I wished I had worn a hat and mittens. That is what urban laziness gets you. There seemed to be about 6 inches of snow on the ground already and it was falling fast and heavy. Making my way to the parking lot with my cart was almost impossible but I knew that time was of the essence. I needed to get in the car and get home fast. I could not find my car at first and lost a few precious moments wandering around as if in slow motion through two aisles until I found it. I used a cereal box to wipe the snow from the door so that I could open it and throw my grocery bags inside. I was frozen to the core, my grocery bags were completely covered in snow and mounds of snow fell into my car as I opened the doors. Luckily, I had parked close enough to a cart corral and I pushed my way there and then slipped and stumbled back to my car. Of course, I had not worn my boots either.

Once inside, I turned the key to start the engine and began the process of defrosting and de-snowing the car just enough so that I could start driving. It was pure craziness and I could not believe that I was in the middle of it.

It was slow going but I made it out of the parking lot and onto what I hoped was the main road. I had never paid a large amount of attention to the landmarks on my drive home but I was pretty confident that that was where I was headed since I could barely see a foot in front of the car. As I drove I started to wonder if I would ever make it home. I have never driven in anything like this in my life and I love driving in snow. As if on cue, my car began to slide and spin in the unnatural amount of snow that had fallen. Then my car made a large winding arch and I ended up with the front half of my car buried in a huge snowdrift. I could not tell if I was off the road because my windows were covered with snow from the impact. I put the car in reverse but it was no use. I was stuck. I did not dare to try to put the windows down in case it caused an avalanche of snow to fall in on me. I knew that would be worse than my current situation, which was already looking pretty grim.

Even though the store had not been that far from my home there was no way that I could walk the rest of the way even if I could figure a way out. I knew well enough that the blizzard conditions would do me in in no time and I would not even stand a fighting chance. I looked into the backseat and in addition to a few groceries that had spilled out of their bags when I crashed, the heavy blanket that I had thrown into my car at the beginning of the winter season was also there. My rural upbringing had taught me to think ahead and be prepared. It had not worked for my mittens and boots but it had worked for the blanket.

I grabbed it and covered myself, then turned off the engine. I also knew that I had better save my gas because I was not sure when I would be discovered and even then if anyone would be able to help me because of the still-raging blizzard. Covering my head and all of my body with the blanket, I closed my eyes and prayed for a nap. It seemed like an illogical thing to wish for in a situation like this but if holiday magic existed, I needed it now. Maybe I would wake to find a huge shovel on the seat next to me. It was worth a try because I wasn’t going anywhere.

Falling asleep proved to be quite difficult because I was not even remotely relaxed. Who would be? I should not even be here and if I had not been so tired and lazy yesterday, I would have purchased my groceries and then I would be home today all cozied up with my snacks as the blizzard swooped in with its surprise. The thought occurred to me that I was now the person out in these crazy conditions that would end up on the news as someone who should not have been out in the storm. Karma.

The warmth from the sun and the sand under my feet melted away all the stress and anxiety that I had been feeling. There was a slight breeze and I heard the mesmerizing sound of ocean waves as I sat in a comfy chair with my head lounged back and my toes dug deep in the warm sand. Obviously sleep had overcome me. I was by myself, as usual, but I did not feel alone. Looking around, I knew that I had never been here before, wherever “here” was, but like the other places that I had been on my naps, I felt at home.

As I looked around at my new scene and I noticed that a thin path cut its way from the beach through a grove of palm trees. Although I was quite content to stay loafing on this sunny warm beach, I felt a strong pull to see where the path would lead. I left the beach behind as I began to follow the path and entered into a shady cool palm tree forest that was filled with all sorts of tropical sounds and flowers. The colors were rich and vibrant and the smell was intoxicating. There was so much chatter going on from various animal and bird sounds that I had never heard before. Although I felt that I belonged here there was a nagging feeling of dread. I could not explain it but my spirit was worried. It wasn’t a present worry that something in this tropical forest would eat me, but something deep inside me, as if I had been carrying my troubles around with me.

The deeper I walked into the forest, the quieter the tropical forest noises became. There was a cool mist starting to surround me and for the first time on this tropical trip, I felt a little chilly. The path drew me forward and I found myself climbing upward toward the bright blue sky. Then the palm trees parted and I found that I was climbing the side of a hill next to the ocean. It was breathtaking to look out at the turquoise waters of the sea sparkling with sunshine. I kept walking and when I made it to the top of the hill a beautiful white church appeared. It was small and surrounded by the prettiest red tropical flowers and lush green foliage. There was no door, just an open doorway that beckoned me. Standing at the doorway, I peeked inside, and was amazed. The small simple looking white church from the outside was filled with color on the inside from the sun pouring through the stained glass windows. Each window had a different image, a different story to tell.

Stepping inside the doorway, the colors washed over me as I looked around. There were two rows of wooden pews that were a weathered white color on each side of the middle aisle. The front of the church had a simple altar and it looked like the church could hold no more than fifty people. I guess it was a bit far for people to travel to, especially since I had not seen any people and did not know exactly where the nearest population resided.

My eyes were drawn to a window that had a simple image of an angel, but in all of its simplicity, it was amazingly beautiful. The angel seemed to be the color of lightness and warmth and she was surrounded by the colors of love. I was overcome with the feeling that I was safe and that I had nothing to worry about. The nagging feeling that I had been carrying around with me as I explored the path to the church was gone. I breathed a sigh of relief to have that unexplained heaviness gone.

The light from the angel suddenly grew brighter and became blinding. I covered my eyes with my hand and heard someone shouting. The shouting woke me and I realized that the blinding light was coming from a snowplow and not an angel in a church. I was back in my car and I was freezing cold. Someone was clearing snow from my window as they pounded on it and shouted for me to open the window. I yelled that I was in there and managed to crack the window enough to communicate. They were happy to hear that I was “OK” and told me that they were hitching my car from behind and would soon pull me out. Another plow truck had just gone though so I could manage the roads, but I had better act fast. The blizzard had slowed for a brief moment but was expected to start up again. Apparently, what had already come was just a teaser.

I thanked them and closed my window. I turned the key and thankfully my engine started so I put it in neutral. After a few moments I felt the car jerk as I was pulled backwards. I chuckled a little thinking that my nap had produced a much better wish than a shovel, it delivered a whole plow! I turned to look out my back window to see if I could start to drive yet and saw something shiny on the passenger seat next to me. I reached over and found an angel decoration nestled inside a warm hat along with thick fleecy mittens. I picked up the angel and saw that it was a topper for my Christmas tree. It was silver and gold and it sparkled. I had needed one.

I put on the hat and mittens to warm me from my frigid nap and knew that my guardian angel had been sent and that they had watched over me the whole time.




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