The smoke of Bonfire drifts away across the horizon as the vibrancy of fireworks lift from the dark deep skies. Stars are left twinkling and winking at those down below who brave the crisp cold air on an evening walk, a carpet of leaves crunch beneath their heavy Hunter boots. A young girl sits in her window wrapped in a soft cashmere dressing gown, her long white hair plaited neatly down her back as her mother moves behind lighting candles. The young girl watches as foxes crawl beneath the rockery, their wide eyes glittering against the vast moonlight that casts long shadows across the lawn. A hedgehog scuttles by in a hurry reaching for comfort.
“Madeleine… in you pop…” her mother pulls back the cotton bed-sheets and in jumps her daughter wrapped tightly in cashmere. She pulls up the teddy bears and blankets and sweeps a hair out of her daughters face whispering softly, “it feels like we might have a new visitor tonight.”
The young girls eyes widened in excitement, “Santa already?”
Her mother smiled warmly as she moved to the window peering in to the calm November night. “I remember when I was your age, it was a few days from Advent and your grandmother had shipped me off to bed with hot cocoa. I couldn’t sleep so I sat in this very window and peered down below into the garden. There was the last flicker of squirrels and hedgehogs and birds as they disappeared into their burrows with just an owl in the tree looking over the happenings. There was a chill in the air, colder than before and as I watched, a man appeared. He looked old and frail, trudging across the grass with just a small lantern in his hand to light his path. Both he and the owl nodded to each other like old friends, and from his palm a glittering sprinkling brightened the moonlight. It was almost as light as day but it was calm and so quiet, not a sound, not even his footsteps could be heard across the path.”
She turned back to see her daughter sat up curiously trying to see past her shoulder and opened her arms so they could both cuddle into the window seat. Her mother continued.
“He wore a long black coat that looked old and ragged, his long silver beard nearly touched his toes and his fingers seemed older than even he. A plume of smoke escaped his lips and with that he paused, smiling softly into the night sky. After a moment I could hardly catch a breath I was trying to be so quiet so as not to scare him off. But once he stepped from the shadow and the moonlight hit his warm red cheeks I noticed he wasn’t just any ordinary man. His face glittered and as he began to twirl and frolic everything left behind turned white and crisp. Grass blades bowed down and sparkled as he passed, tiny snowflakes formed a white blanket across the greenhouse. He skated across the pond and it turned to ice as he spun and spun as if his heart were yours. Everything in his wake seemed to turn to ice and form a white shell of cold. After about five minutes he reached for his lantern and looked back. What was left behind was like a magical scene. The air was crisp, the leaves were traced with glitter, everything around glistened in the moonlight and the owl that observed smiled and nodded at the visitor. But then something really magical happened…”
Her daughter looked back at her horrified and excited as she peeled her nose from the window pane. “He looked up and saw me, I jumped terrified. But as I peered curiously from behind the curtain he blew glitter from his lips toward me. A cloud of snowflakes lifted to the window and delicately formed a frame of ice around its edge. He smiled and nodded, lifted his lantern, opened the gate to the next garden and with that he was gone.”
“Who was he Mama?” her daughter had returned her fingers and nose pressed against the glass.
“I asked my Mama the very same thing the next morning as she stood gleefully in the middle of the crisp white garden. She smiled and looked to the clear pale skies as a band of yellow painted the horizon and told me the very same story I did you. That a wonderful old man came by one night and with the magic in his fingertips turned everything to ice and white. His name I asked? Jokul Frosti. So, if you happen to see him, be sure to smile and wave, he might send some snowflakes to your window too.”
The next morning as the sun began to yawn awake behind the houses, Madeleine’s eyes snapped open and she sprung to the window. Looking down into the garden there was that very carpet of frost that had encased everything in its path. She sighed disappointed that she had missed Mr Frosti until she panned and saw in the grass by the tree, a message written in the crisp white blades.
First Frost for Madeleine
Jumping from the window she flew downstairs to greet her mother in the doorway and there they both stood. Enchanted by the magical scenery before them a landscape that glittered and glistened and sparkled in the soft morning Winter sunlight.