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The Sacred Place

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Dolores pulled on her snow boots and heavy winter coat.  She wrapped a long wool scarf around her neck and pulled her knit hat down firmly over her ears.  Tugging on an old pair of gloves, she took her cane in hand and shuffled out the door and down the well-worn path leading to the woods behind her house.  

At the edge of the woods sat an old bench that had been there for years and years, as long as Dolores could remember.  Slowly she lowered herself onto the bench, breathing heavily from the effort of walking the short distance. She didn't get around as well as she used to, and it frustrated her to no end.  Still she came here to this sacred spot as often as she could, it was a place she loved to be.

Dolores was first drawn to this spot as a young child.  She had been out playing in the yard and thought she saw movement at the edge of the trees, then she heard laughter.  Moving closer she had been amazed to see a beautiful woman standing there, surrounded by a glowing light.  Unafraid, Dolores had approached the woman who was smiling directly at her.  As she drew next to her, Dolores noted that she did not see the woman's feet beneath her long flowing gown, she appeared to be floating in the air just above the ground. 

With the curiosity of a child, Dolores spoke first, "Who are you, what is your name?"  The woman responded that her name was Sophia and that she was Dolores' guardian angel. 

"You're an angel?" asked Dolores, amazed.  "You are my angel? Where are your wings?"

Sophia smiled and said that she didn't really need wings, that she was able to move about freely by just floating on the air.  She demonstrated by rising up to a nearby tree branch and retrieving a beautiful pinecone, which she handed to Dolores. 

"Can I do that, can I float?" Dolores asked with great excitement.

Sophia laughed and Dolores recognized the beautiful laughter she had heard earlier. 

"Were you laughing at me before?" she demanded.

Sophia nodded and said that she had been enjoying watching Dolores trying to convince a squirrel to approach her so that she could feed him from her hand.  Dolores agreed that it was difficult to gain the squirrel's trust.

Dolores and Sophia visited for what seemed like a long time that afternoon, and the memory had remained fresh in Dolores' mind ever since, as if it had just happened yesterday.  They had shared many visits in the years since then.  It seemed that whenever Dolores needed to sort things out in her mind, all she had to do was go sit on the old bench next to the woods, and Sophia was sure to appear and talk with her. 

Dolores had tried to tell her friends about Sophia, her very own guardian angel, when she was small,  but they had laughed and didn't believe her.  She told her mother too, who commented on her vivid imagination.  After that she just kept her visits with Sophia to herself;  it didn't matter what anyone else thought, she knew that her angel was very real.

Dolores had remained at the farm all her life, leaving only for a few years of college so she could become a teacher.  When she married Joe her parents decided to retire in town and had left the farm to Joe and Dolores as a wedding gift.
 
Joe had departed for the Spirit World a few years back, but Sophia had assured Dolores that he was just fine there with all her beloved cats and dogs who had crossed the Rainbow Bridge in years gone by, waiting for her when it was her turn to come.

The snow began to fall softly as Dolores sat on the bench, dusting her coat and gloves with a sprinkling of white.  Dolores smiled with the same sense of delight she had felt as a child witnessing the first snowfall of the year.  Then she heard the sound of laughter, and there was Sophia sitting right beside her!  Sophia put her arms around Dolores and held her close; her glowing light filled Dolores with warmth. 

"It's time now," Sophia said gently.  "Time for you to come home with me, Joe is waiting for you." 
 

Dolores smiled with excitement, just as she had on that day long ago when she first met Sophia.

The next day her family found her, having gone looking for her when she didn't respond to their phone calls.  They found her there on the bench, frozen in the snow, with the most peaceful, beautiful smile on her face that anyone could imagine. 
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
This was written for Two Shoes Tuesday
where the theme choices this week are sacred and store.
If you enjoy writing, come and join us!

I am also linking up with Book Musing Mondays
at Mary-andering Creatively this week!
It's a brand new blog hop, drop by and check it out!

29 comments:

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    1. Thank you Mimi, I thought it was! I was smiling as I wrote it. :-)

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  2. Josie, what a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing this with us. I heard the phrase the "Rainbow Bridge" from a client at the Needs Council this morning, talking about her departed doggie. So beautiful that Dolores had that happy smile when she passed.

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    1. Thank you Linda Kay! Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could all pass from this life so peacefully?

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  3. How important is to retain the spirit of childhood within us all our years. Our lives, the world and our future are then full of hope and enjoyment.

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    1. That is so true Old Egg, if we retain the ability to see beauty and joy as we did as children, and to believe what our hearts tell us is true, then we will never grow to be sad and uncaring.

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  4. So sweet. I love this story. The ending made me teary. Please link it up to my Book Musing Mondays. I think it fits nicely with them of quality family-friendly literature. I loved it so much. I am inviting authors to link up too. :)

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    1. Thank you Mary! The ending does tug at our hearts, and yet we envy Dolores for having been given the gift of seeing her angel, and for slipping away from this life knowingly and at peace. Thank you too, for inviting me to share a link at your place, I will drop by and do that! :-)

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    1. Thank you Tiffany! This story came to me very quickly, when I was finished with it I was pleased with how it turned out. I am a teller of simple tales, that's what I most enjoy.

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    1. Thank you Sarah, I was going for a very gentle tone, in keeping with the snow falling softly.

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  7. I enjoyed reading your beautiful story, which ends in the way I somehow expected in the middle.

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    1. Thank you, Romi! I felt that it was a natural conclusion too, the way I would like the story to end, all stories, really! :-)

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  8. I have chills all over right now, Josie, and I'm more than a bit teary, too. First, my Grandmother's name was Dolores and she just loved the snow. Then, the number of little things that are connected to my life and to hers is sort of uncanny. I would definitely like to talk about this more. Right now, though, I'm kind of overwhelmed.
    It's beautiful, by the way - very beautiful. All by itself and because of the huge flood of memories you've brought me this evening.

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    1. Wow! Stories like this just come to me Lisa, I start with a picture or a line or two, and the rest falls in place very quickly, usually within 30 minutes or so at the most. I don't know where they come from. Do you think maybe your Grandmother helped me write this one? It's always possible. I most definitely believe that those who have passed into the spirit world are not somewhere far away, but watch over and interact with us, guide us and protect us. I will look forward to hearing more about how this story resonates for you. My email address is up there in the corner if you don't have it already. It is never an accident or a coincidence when lives intersect, and perhaps that holds true for the posts and stories we share here too! XOXO

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    2. I believe wholeheartedly that our loved ones are near us, Josie. I can't wait to tell you all about this story and its connection.

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  9. Lovely story, Josie!
    Christmas spirit & angel.
    I have goosebumps...
    Beautifully expressed.
    I remembered a story I had read- the little matchbox girl.

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    1. Thank you, Anita! I remember that story too, it is very sad but beautiful!

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  10. You have penned a very sweet story and illustrated it perfectly. Sweet.
    I believe angels watch over us, even if they are not noticeable to us. They are there. We just need to believe.

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    1. Thank you Annie! I agree with you about angels, they are always among us.

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  11. Beautiful story Josie. I liked Sophia a lot :)

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    1. Thank you so much! I think we would all love to have an angel like Sophia, and may be we do!

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  12. Wonderful story. Very sweet and filled with love. I don't know my angel's name and I have never seen him but I know angels are real and we each have at least one assigned to us. I think my angel had to work overtime when I was young...maybe not so much now.

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    1. Thank you Patricia! I totally agree with you on all counts. I am certain that my angel had white hair long before I did! :-))

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  13. Tears...Great story, I hope to join in on this week's Two Shoes Tuesday! : )

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    1. Awww Joseph, I am happy this story touched your heart. I felt the same way when writing it! I will be looking forward to seeing you join up with us again, you've been missed!

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  14. A beautiful smiley story, Josie.
    Sorry I am late checking in. We've been on and off again staying at our daughter's doing Nanny and Pappy duty. KP is in kindergarten, Karen works, and Billy has a job now. Some sort of after school situations will be worked out for her, I think after Christmas.
    They live at Katy, we live northwest of Conroe. It is 75+ miles across town and takes about an hour and a half when traffic flows good. You probably went through Katy if you came to Galveston down I-10. If you came through the country you might have come in through Hwy 6 and skirted Houston.
    ..

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    1. Thank you Jim! I am delighted that you have your precious KP living much closer to you these days, even if it does mean some long runs to help out with her. I do not enjoy you that trip in heavy traffic. UGH! But, these are precious years while she is small, and she will hold them in her heart forever! We did go to Galveston via I-10, how I wish we could be there for Christmas some year, or better yet for all year round! :-)

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Your comments are always appreciated... they make me smile! :-)