City on a Hill

A white blanket of darkness lingers over the land. Drifting, dancing, swirling, silencing, the snow drapes across rooftops and dusts magic over parked cars and street lights. Faint squeals of joy from little ones echo through the hills, as the gruff scraping of shovels on asphalt indicate brothers’ persevering attempt to clear away the ice so gentle older sisters can back out of the driveway safely. The smell of spicy apple cider drifts through neighborhoods where fathers preside lovingly over the stove and mothers carefully remove warm cookies from the oven.

It’s been a long day. Lights beeping, horns honking, and loud speakers announcing more and more delays due to the snow. Hard chairs, hungry babies, and second-hand cigarette smoke hadn’t been the travelers’ idea of a comfortable journey. Hopes rise and fall as flurries begin again, eight hundred miles away. The sun is setting. The wind has picked up. It all lends to the fear that they’re stuck. Maybe they won’t make it home in time.

Finally, they’re off. Soaring through the crisp air with a sunset on the horizon, shoulders heave a sigh of relief and babies fall asleep peacefully. Celebratory pretzels and cookies are distributed, and nobody really cares that they’ve been sitting in a box somewhere for who-knows-how-long.

A purple blanket of hope spreads out below them. Wisps of clouds tangle with the falling snow, and suddenly it’s all so beautiful. They pass city after city, town after town, and watch them fade into the background. Finally, after a long stretch of hills and mountains, tiny cottages barely visible, and farmland lying dormant for the winter, a few speckled lights of their city, their home appear beyond that bristling line of trees. They blink into focus as travelers yawn and heartbeats increase at the prospect of the end of the journey.

The city on the hill brings hope and warmth to the travelers’ hearts. They see it and think of home. They don’t think of the traffic they’re about to drive into. They don’t think about the cold about to rush over them as soon as they disembark. They don’t think about the cries waiting to issue forth from babies’ lungs when they’re rudely awakened. They don’t think about the return journey.

They think about home.

And suddenly, they are Home.

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