A Change of Season, a Change of Heart

June 3, 2010
By , El Dorado Hills, CA
The sound of the rustling leaves, singing birds, and grazing animals filled the air like a quiet symphony, a song that could only be heard and truly appreciated in the solitude of one's mind. The scent of wet, rich earth filled one's nose. In the deepest part of this forest, a cabin was nestled away, hidden by the majestic trees that surrounded it on all sides. The cabin's rundown state was as a tarnished jewel, once shining in glory, but now it was a forgotten place, pleading for love and care. It felt like a small, dwindling flame, surrounded by ashes, the only remnants of what was before. The smell of smoked ham drifted from somewhere inside, and one could almost taste it.

“This is my new home?” thought Ambriella with a clenched jaw. “This is where Mom and Dad chose to leave me?” The feelings of hate and betrayal filled every inch of her athletic being. As she bent down to pick up her overflowing luggage, her silky, shining brunette locks fell around her shoulders. She looked up again at the house with her deep and piercing doe-like eyes.. “This is more like a shack than a house,” she mumbled as she flicked her hair away from her angelic face. She scowled at her grandfather as he helped her carry the luggage inside the house. He was like a giant redwood, strong and silent, towering over all, allowing nothing to move or shake him. The brim of his moss green hat protruded over his eyes. They were the color of fresh spring leaves, gleaming like dew drops as the sun's light reflected on them. The wrinkles of laughter that surrounded them were like the bark of a tree, each crevice a memory of the many joys that had come before. The most striking thing about him was that he was clad in a Scottish kilt. The distinct plaid was made of greens, yellows, reds, and blues, and each color seemed to represent a season of our world.
As they made their way inside the small dwelling, Ambriella surveyed the cluttered home like a hawk surveys its surroundings right before it dives in for its meal.
“Tell me where my room is,” Ambriella insisted, but her grandpa continued to bring in her luggage as if he hadn't heard her. “I said, tell me where my room is.” The girl's voice and her tone changed from an order, to impatience. Her grandfather would not be shaken, and he continued to mind his own business. Ambriella was furious. How could this old man treat her like this! Her face turned crimson and her blood began to boil, like a steaming tea kettle just as it is about to release its steam. She stood up tall, trying to match the height of her grandfather, and with a loud and penetrating voice she yelled, “Tell me where my room is now!”
Her grandfather simply looked at her, the twinkle in his eye now gone, and said, “A simple please would suffice.” His voice was like that of thick Scottish marmalade covering warm crispy toast.
Ambriella was not accustomed to doing as she was told. “I can say whatever I want,” she said as she crossed her arms.
Her grandfather turned away saying, “And I can answer whomever I want.”
Ambriella sighed, knowing she had been beaten. “Ok, whatever. Please tell me where my room is.”
Her grandfather turned back to her and smiled as the twinkle returned to his eyes. “That's better,” he said as his thick Scottish accent rolled off his tongue. “It's up the stairs, second door to the left.
“Great,” replied Ambriella, but she knew this would be far from an enjoyable summer.
As Ambriella headed up the stairs toting her two large suitcases behind her, Grandpa Angus shook his head and mumbled, “Lord, this is going to be a lot harder than I expected.” He turned into his room, which was cluttered by books and trinkets, coated in dust like a used fireplace is covered in soot. He removed the letter that had been sent to him from Miami, Florida the week prior, and opened it again, even though he now knew the words by heart.
Dear Dad,
How has everything been going for you? David and I are great, and we are so excited for our upcoming trip around the world. I do have a huge favor to ask from you. Ambriella can't stay home by herself while we are away, and all of her other relatives are on vacation. I don't want her to stay with any of her friends because I'm sure they will just get into trouble. I was wondering if it would be at all possible for her to stay with you. Neither of you have seen one another since she was three, and I am sure it would be a great experience for both of you. I'm sorry for the short notice, but I knew you didn't have e-mail, and when I called a recording told me your phone was disconnected. Please let me know soon.

Your affectionate daughter,
The man sighed as he heard Ambriella thunder down the stairs. “Lord, please help me get through this.”

Ambriella entered her room and gasped. “This can't be my room.” She ran down the stairs and rushed to her grandpa. “I think you told me to go to the wrong room.”

“Well,” he replied, “where did you go?”
Crossing her arms Ambriella answered, “I went to the second door on the left. You just gave me wrong directions.”

“She is acting more like a six year old than a sixteen year old,” the grandpa thought. “You went to the right room. Is something wrong with it?”

“Wrong? Oh yeah, something is definitely wrong,” the girl steamed. “That room is way too small. It's more like the size of my closet.”

“I'm very sorry, but that is your room.”

‘What? Well get me a bigger one, then.”

“I can't do that.”

“And why not?”

“Because all of the bedrooms are the same. It's not like Florida here.”

“You can say that again.” Ambriella stomped up the stairs. “This is so stupid.”

“Would you like some breakfast?” he asked, and was answered by the slam of a door.

As the days went by, Ambriella chose to stay cooped up in her room and complain about everything, while her grandfather completed all the chores and put food on the table, which of course was never satisfactory to Ambriella. She was either idly listening to her iPod, or she was complaining about the horrible situation she was in. She might have chosen to talk to friends, but her cell phone was rendered useless, as there was no service is this uncivilized place. This went on for a few days, until her only means of entertainment was obsolete. Her iPod had died, and she had forgoten the charger.

“What on earth am I supposed do now?” the girl asked pitifully after a dinner of steaming mashed potatoes and corn. “I am going to die.”

Grandpa Angus looked at her and smiled, “You know, when I was your age we didn't have any fancy gadgets to fill up our time. All we had was each other, and our imaginations.”

Ambriella snorted, “Some life.”

“Ah, you would be surprised,” the man said wisely. “Every night my father used to tell me and my siblings stories. Would you like to hear one now?”

Ambriella rolled her eyes, “I guess have nothing better to do.”

Her grandpa chuckled, and began. “In a faraway land, where the grass grows greenest, a young girl lived in a small farmhouse with her family…”

At first Ambriella acted uninterested, but she soon became mesmerized by these tales of a girl in a faraway land. When the tale was over, she asked, “Was that a true story?”

“Yes it was,” her grandfather replied. “Some liberties had to be taken in order to make the tale more enjoyable.”

“Who was she?” Ambriella questioned.

“Your grandmother, Bonnie.” While her grandfather's eyes were still shining with glee, the name of his love subdued it, like an opaque curtain subdues the light of a candle.

Ambriella looked down, “I wish I could have met her.”

“Aye, she was a wonderful lass, always singin' and laughin'. I don't think there was a person in the world who wouldn't like your grandma.” He gazed into space, and a smile escaped from the corner of his mouth as he traveled back to the golden days of his youth. Suddenly being jolted back to the present time, he looked at Ambriella and said, “It's about time you went to bed.”

Surprisingly, Ambriella didn't throw a fit, or argue, she just sighed and rolled her eyes. As she left the room she said, “Goodnight Grandpa,” then turned around and said, “Thanks for the story.”

The old man chuckled as he put his pipe to his lips, “Maybe there's hope for that girl yet.”

In the early morning, the sun shone through the trees, casting rays of sunshine like gold. Ambriella felt someone gently shaking her. Who would be interfering with her sleep? She rolled over and pulled the covers over her head, but the movement continued, now harder than before. She tried and tried to ignore it, but the shaking was persistent. Ambriella sat up, ready to lash out at whomever had woken her from her slumber. With the haze of sleep now replaced by the blaze of anger, she saw in front of her none other than her grandpa.

“What do you want so early?” she moaned, putting a pillow over her head.

Her grandpa promptly removed it, saying, “Get up, it's time to clean the house.”

“You woke me up for that?” the girl's eyes burned like a red-eyed snake about to attack it's prey.

“Yes, and you already missed breakfast, so we'd better get started.” Grandpa Angus's voice remained calm, never showing a hint of the annoyance he felt.

“Ugh,” Ambriella moaned as she slowly slid out of bed. “This is not going to be a fun day.” She was back to her old, spoiled self, with no remnant of who she had become last night.
The day was filled with dusting cabinets, polishing glass, and toting large buckets of dirty mop water through the house. Ambriella had never worked so hard in her life. It was like a day filled with planned torture just for her. She boiled with incredulous anger as everything was going terribly, yet her grandfather remained as happy as ever. This then led Ambriella to think about why he was always happy. It didn't make sense to her. His children and grandchildren hardly ever visited him, and his wife was dead. He lived in a small house that was practically falling apart in the middle of nowhere, with almost no money to speak of, yet he was happy. She lived in Miami, Florida with lots of friends and a large house in the richest neighborhood in the city. She always got what she wanted, as her parents had a large sum of money to spare, yet it never felt like enough. As she dwelled upon these thoughts, she worked in agitation. “It doesn't make sense,” she thought, “It just doesn't.”

That night at dinner, Ambriella barely touched her food. Her grandpa noticed the troubled look on her faced and asked, “What is the matter lassie?”

She looked up at him, saying, “I'm just really confused. You don't have anything, yet you are always happy. I have everything, but it doesn't seem to make a difference.”

The old man looked her in the eye. “You are very mistaken. I have the greatest treasure a man could ever own.”

The cloud of confusion in Ambriella's mind suddenly doubled. “Then why do you continue to live like this? Why don't you buy yourself a nice house in a nice area?”

Her grandpa took her smooth, delicate hand in his strong, worn ones. “It's not the kind of treasure a man could see or hold. It can't even be placed in this earthly realm. That's because it's right here.” He pointed to his heart. “It's Jesus, Ambriella. He fills me with so much joy.”

“But I don't get it, I mean I know about Jesus and everything, and my parents and I go to church, but I'm still unhappy.”

“It's not just about following all the rules, or doing all the right motions, it's about having a relationship with Him. Would you like that?”

Ambriella looked down at her food. “I don't know. I still have a lot to think about.”

“That's alright. How about another story?”

Ambriella smiled. “That sounds good.”

The weeks continued. Every night at dinner the two would talk about the Bible, and how to experience true joy, and after that Grandpa Angus would tell a story about his wife, Bonnie, and through those stories the two grew closer.

One night at dinner after another long talk, Ambriella took a deep breath and said, “Grandpa, I'm ready.” The smile that lit up her grandfather's face was brighter than all of the stars in the sky, and a tear was trapped in the wrinkles that surrounded his wise eyes.

“You do not know how happy I am for ye. Come here.” He embraced Ambriella as he prayed for her, and helped her ask Jesus to come into her heart.

After praying, Ambriella's eyes held the same sparkle as her grandfather's. The joy that she felt inside her escaped through her smile, like the sun beams escape from behind clouds.

Her grandfather got up and left the room. “Stay right there.” He came back with something in his hand. “This is for you.” He extended the object out to Ambriella. She took it, and discovered it was a book. The worn red leather cover felt comforting, like a warm fireplace on a rainy day. The pages were yellow with age, and while some words were almost worn away, the name inside the cover was clearly legible.

“It says ‘Bonnie',” Ambriella looked up with a tear in her eye.

“That was her Bible. She read it everyday. I thought you might like it.”

Clasping the book to her chest, Ambriella replied, “Oh thank you, thank you! I will treasure this forever.”

Her grandpa placed his hand on the girl's brunette head. “And I, my lass, will treasure this moment for eternity.”

Join the Discussion

This article has 8 comments. Post your own now!

laurathewise said...
Sept. 5, 2010 at 6:13 pm

I think this story has a lot of strong points, and sends a good message. I liked the grandfather and the verbs you used like "the girl steamed."


However, you suffer from simile overload syndrome. The first couple of paragraphs are so chock full of similes that they become cliche. It's extremely obvious what you want us to think of this cabin "once shining in glory, but now it was a forgotten place." That's fine, but you repeat yourself a lot while doing it. Plus, some of ... (more »)

Amiee said...
Sept. 3, 2010 at 9:45 pm

THis story is sooo good!!!! the detailes are so fascinating and urges the reader to keep on scrolling down, and how you desrbie the characters are good too! above all, i LOVE the message in this story, i wanna write a story with this kinda message in it too~

love it><

Purples+Sparkles! said...
Sept. 2, 2010 at 9:42 pm

Beautifully written! You've got such a way with words and lots of talent! :) Keep on using your gifts!


HighlandLass said...
Sept. 1, 2010 at 4:11 pm
You made me wish it was longer... great job painting pictures the reader could share. Keep exploring your giofts in writing as they have only begun!
VNT8GDROID said...
Sept. 1, 2010 at 10:58 am
I like the way you study things around you and express them for others to experience. Nice work, keep it up.
Cadillac said...
Sept. 1, 2010 at 10:40 am
Wow this was a very inspirational story, and i loved reading it! :) Thanx for sharing!
shekinahsis said...
Aug. 31, 2010 at 9:58 pm
I can just hear that Irish brogue!!  Brilliance, my dear.  Brilliance.
Inkspired said...
Jun. 15, 2010 at 5:46 pm
This is a great story!! i love the way you wrote it, but i think that you have a few too many similes. Too much description can be a bad thing! :) but otherwise, it's really good, and very inspirational! 
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