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An Advent story {part 1}

A modern winter fairy tale with music for adults and children.

Listen to this part's song: too much.


Cover of the advent story "Mina and the fantastical winter forest".

Mina is sitting on her couch, her gaze absent. She has so much to do, but feels paralized. It’s December and she actually should be buying Christmas presents, preparing for the Christmas dinner with her colleagues, confirming the date for the Christmas brunch with her girlfriends and her flight back home should have been booked weeks ago, so that Christmas can be spent with her family. But Mina is doing none of the above. She can’t.

This year everything was supposed to be different. For months Mina has been looking forward to December. She loves the holiday season and the beginning of winter. And so she imagined that she would be cozy on the sofa by candlelight with a warm and steamy cup of cocoa during these cold and dark weeks. Maybe she would be watching one of her favourite Christmas movies or finally have the time to knit something. But first and foremost all Mina wanted was time and quiet.

Even though she now is sitting on the sofa, it’s a far cry from the calmness she had hoped for. Her tense hands dig into her knees which she has drawn close to her chest. Inside of her a storm is raging. Mina tries to quiet herself down by taking some deeper breaths, but it seems like an iron hand has taken hold of her lungs. Breathing gets harder and she can’t think clearly anymore. Everything is too much.


Ping.


Ping.


Again and again.


Her phone takes on an own life and almost can’t keep up with all the messages. A short glance to the side and Mina knows what’s going on. The family chat, the girlfriend chat, the work chat, everyone is asking if she could quickly answer so that the organisation can go on. Ping. An e-mail promising a big discount if you just click on the webpage right now! But don’t wait too long, tomorrow it’s too late! Ping. Instagram opens. All the perfect people with their perfect lives, who have decorated their houses perfectly according to the latest trends on pinterest and now they are happily sipping mulled wine. Ping. Mum, who wants to know when she’s coming home and if she couldn’t quickly go and grab some things to bring home for her. Ping. Ping. Ping.

Mina feels hot tears filling her eyes. This is not how it was supposed to be. Why can’t she be left alone for just one second? All of a sudden, like a bat out of hell, she stands up. Without thinking she puts on her coat. Her hands automatically grab her winter boots, beanie, scarf and gloves, all the while her phone merrily keeps pinging in her living room.


Fully outfitted for winter Mina leaves her apartement, closes the door firmly and steps out into the world. At once she gets pushed aside by a person hurrying along with too many a plastic bag to count. Mina stands still for a moment. Tomorrow it’s the first Advent, Christmas time has begun. But nobody seems to be peaceful. Blinking lights everywhere, overly decorated displays in the shop windows. Where to look? Nevermind, nobody is slowing their steps to drink in the christmassy atmosphere. Every single person is running, loaded with bags, speaking quickly on the phone jammed between the ear and the shoulder while carelessly throwing the unpopular coins towards the buskers with the other hand.

What has become of us?, Mina thinks. When did we forget that we sometimes need the quiet, too?

Mina turns up the collar of her coat and makes her way into the chaos. The stress wave reaches her immediately and she becomes one of them, of the racing humans, because that’s the only way to escape the tumult. With quick steps she crosses the street, avoids the others, her gaze concentrated on the concrete in front of her. Through canyons of houses and valleys of tram rails. Mina walks faster and faster. She’s on the run. From the busyness and from herself. From her constantly vibrating phone and alle the people that want something from her.


Finally the tarmac ends making way to a muddy path and Mina slows her steps down. Again her hands grab her knees, but this time not tensly, but only to support herself while she’s catching her breath. She made it. Mina has reached the forest. She’s straightening herself up and inhales deeply. Her escape has succeeded. Although you can still hear the rumbling of the city streets, the sound has been reduced to a mere background noise. Her breath quiets down and the iron fist that had previously closed her lungs is loosening its grip. Breathing becomes easier, also because with every inhale she can smell the trees standing in the forest in front of her. Mina has left behind the noise and the polluted air as well as the stressed hustle and bustle of the city. Only a few other people are taking a walk here. Everyone else must be busy preparing for Christmas time.


Mina knows this place with the forest well. Everytime life becomes a bit much she comes here. But now she starts feeling guilty, because after her first visit she promised herself and the forest that she would spend time here as much as possible, preferably multiple times a week, which she obviously hasn’t done. Once again life has been too busy. And although the forest isn’t far from her apartment it’s mostly the sofa she rests her body on by the end of the day instead of the soft cushions of moss in the forest. Nonetheless this place has become her sanctuary, her place to escape to whenever she didn’t feel well and was in desperate need of answers, which she always found between the trees. But wouldn’t it be nice if she didn’t only visit on bad days, but also when she was feeling well, because she knew how good the forest was for her?

Mina raises her head to look up into the crowns of the trees. They are all baren and seemingly dead. One, two steps and Mina is inside the forest. It astounds her everytime how powerful this entering is. Everything gets left behind and Mina steps into a completely different world. “Hello, old friend”, she whispers to a tree next to her. A silent smile adorns her face while she continues walking slowly without any goal.

 

Did you like the first part of my Advent story? Please feel free to share it with your friends, loved ones, your family and the childern in your life. =) And don't forget to listen to the song of this part.



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