Maybe It Is Out There

Often times, I find myself thinking about a scene from the book ‘The Bear and the Nightingale‘ which I read last year.

The protagonist, Vasya, is a teenage girl living in a fictional Russian village called Lesnaya Zemlya. Snow is falling fast and she has run away from her house into the forest on her white horse to find a bunch of Snowdrops, a kind of purple flower on which the fate of her village hangs. Vasya comes to a tree in the forest that looks almost like a person, she sees a creature sitting on a branch of the tree looking down at her (because Vasya can see through the curtain of human living), and thick swirls of snowflakes are falling around her. The wind is howling and there is no one around — just the mysterious tree, the small creature, Vasya, and her horse. This is a period of waiting before an army of creatures burn down human settlements, and Vasya comes to this place in the forest to seek help from the King of Winter.

I never think about this scene as one of danger or one of foreboding. I always think of it as a scene of safety. The events that happen after this scene may be the reason why I find it very comforting. (No spoilers.) She comes into the forest in ravaging winter, at great risk to her own personal safety, in order to seek help. She goes out in the depth of inches and inches of snow to find flowers. She gets the help she needs, she gets the flowers, and she also finds warmth and a golden fire burning without as much as a disturbance by the snow above. I find that point where she comes and waits near the tree reassuring and I put my mind in this scene in a way that I find myself leaning on it for comfort, for safety.

To me, it signifies the quiet promise that something out there can take care of us no matter how hard the snow is coming down on our heads, no matter the danger we are in. There’s something that will hand us the purple flowers which will save our homes, our loved ones, and us. Something we can call upon to feel safe and protected even in the middle of a storm. And I fervently wish for all of us that this is true. ❤

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