May your Valentine’s Day be filled with love, laughter and lots of chocolate.
A Gathering of Love
By Malissa McClintock for Happy Hedgehog Post
It was a chilly February morning, just as everyone expected it to be. The light dusting of snow that had fallen the night before was glistening from the branches and boughs of the trees in the forest. The sun made the cold, white blanket of ground sparkle like diamonds. And the air makes everyone’s breath curl in little puffs of white clouds.
Most mornings were the same- everyone in the village would pass one another during the start of their daily journey, nodding hello in the chilly air. They were cordial to one another while they continued on their way, eager to begin their day of work and craft.
For you see, their village was a working village of gnomes. Each one had a very specific job to do for the village. Some would gather wood for fires in the homes. Some would check the pantry of food to be sure that everyone had enough stored for the duration of the winter. And some would simply check on the animals around the village in the forest, to be sure they were safe and warm, and fed. All of the gnomes worked together for each other and with each other to be sure that everyone was safe, cared for, and loves.
However, this particular February morning started a little more slowly. Each gnome arose and took care of their household chores and took a few extra minutes to drink their tea and eat their breakfast. For today was February 14th- Valentine’s Day- a very special day in the village. It was a day where instead of rushing by one another, they paused together in the square. Rather than doing jobs and merely nodding to their friends, they would slow down and walk with one another.
Valentine’s Day was important to the gnomes. If you watched them carefully, you would see their lunch baskets, usually tucked neatly with their snacks and tea, were instead overflowing with bursts of colors- mostly red, white, and pink. As they all trickled into the square- as they spent time chatting instead of bustling about – they gathered around the tree in the center of the square. Each gnome then placed their basket beneath the Gathering Tree and then spread blankets upon the square.
They waited every so briefly for the mayor of their village to climb the small set of stairs to the stage next to the Gathering Tree. He wore his special Celebration hat that was extra red and extra pointy as well as his handsome black full-length coat. As he stood at the center of the stage, all of the gnomes applauded him and then fell silent as he began to speak.
“As you all know,” the mayor began, “today is a very important day for our town. It is a day not only to slow down in our business and talk to one another, but it is a day to see that the white and cold of winter will not last forever. We have all presented before the Gathering Tree baskets of colorful decorations. Each of us has taken the time to craft these ornaments with love and generosity in our hearts- for we all know that each of us is very important to all of the others in our village. Without one of us, others can suffer. And thus, we celebrate, appreciate, and dedicate these ornaments to one another for all that we do and all that we mean to our village!”
All of the gnomes once again applauded the Mayor as he walked down the stairs, picked up his own basket, and placed heart ornaments and garlands up the Gathering Tree. When his basket was empty, he turned to the village once again.
“My friends- thank you! From my heart thank you for being my friend, my neighbor, and my companions. I appreciate and love each and every one of you! You will find a heart on this tree for each of you! For I know to be a village, we must ALL be a part of the whole! Now, please, Gather! Decorate our tree! And then come to my house for cakes and tea!!”
All of the Gnomes cheered and began to place their ornaments and garlands upon the Gathering Tree. As they did so, each was able to see their own name placed on the tree by others. The love they felt for one another was so great that they all began to sing songs of love, winter, and friendship. When the last basket was empty and the blankets were all folded neatly and tucked underarms, the gnomes made their way the short distance to the edge of the forest where the Mayor lived. They placed their baskets outside the doorway and entered to the sweet smell of cake and hibiscus tea. There was no formal seating or place of honor, for EACH gnome was the honored one and the most important person there.
This celebration was one of their favorites, for winter was long and often dark, and it seemed to take a very long time to pass. Even though they saw each other daily as they set about their work, they hardly took the time- whether from the chill in the air or the list in their pockets – to really be with one another in friendship by this time of year. Valentine’s Day gave them a reason to pause, and to honor, and to laugh. But mostly it reminded them to LOVE above all things. Nothing was ever too important or too necessary that they couldn’t stop for one day and love one another.
So, when you are feeling cold and the winter is long and dark- find some bits of red and pink, gather with your village, and remember to LOVE one another. You will find a warmth that will carry you to the first signs of Spring, the warm days that follow, and the friendships that will be awaiting the time to shine together.
I hope you enjoyed this wonderful story. In the comments below, tell us how you celebrate Valentine’s Day. Your comment might inspire ours, so don’t be shy!
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