Stanley always shopped for his fruit and vegetables at the town’s weekly Farmer’s Market. He believed he was doing good by supporting the local farmers and was reducing his carbon footprint by not driving to the mega-stores. Stanley had not always been so environmentally friendly. He used to drive his gas guzzling SUV everywhere. Stanley assumed, like everyone else, that everything was replaceable, disposable and in endless supply. That was until the day he had met her, Josephine, she of the arctic blast. Even thinking her name caused a chill to overcome him, and he had just seen her striding purposely towards him. He froze in place as she reached him and said, “Stanley, there is something I want to say to you...”
He was the pastor at a new church that was rising in popularity. His church was different from others because not only did he spread the word of God, but also instilled a love and respect for the Earth. His message was to find a way to balance the needs of humankind and of Mother Nature. His unique message and the rising environmental awareness helped to fill the church’s coffers, and Stanley was able to support local initiatives with local farmers, and educate people about energy efficiency and recycling. Stanley’s new found environmental respect was due to the woman standing before him holding him frozen under her gaze.
Stanley recalled how he met Josephine during his gas guzzling days. She was a beautiful woman, with light blonde hair and arresting glacier blue eyes. Their romance was brief and intense. He fell for her immediately, and believed that she was the one he wanted to marry. Josephine returned his affection lightly, but there was an aloofness about her that he couldn’t reach; apart of her was out of bounds, walled off behind an ice fortress.
As time passed, Stanley tried to get closer to Josephine, but she pushed him away. He couldn’t understand her distance and distrust, and instead of backing away he continued to pursue her. If he had known the truth, Stanley might have turned tail and run away, but he was in love dammit. He vowed that he would break through Josephine’s icy walls.
Stanley would never forget the day that Josephine turned him to ice. They had been arguing, again, about her emotional distance and refusal to trust him. She said Stanley had no idea of the hell that she had been through. Stanley argued by saying that he loved her, and accepted her for the person she was. He only wanted her to trust him and have a life with him. His love did nothing to melt Josephine’s icy distance. Josephine told him that her heart had been broken too many times, and any warmth she had melted away long ago. The more Stanley pursued her the more her bitterness emerged.
In a fit of rage so intense, Josephine told him that she was in fact an avatar of Mother Nature, and was older than time itself. She walked amongst humankind in the hopes of raising awareness and respect for the earth. At first Josephine had felt their love and respect; there was a tenderness and appreciation for the bounty that Mother Nature provided, and a love for the land, the animals, and an awareness of the balance inherent in all things. Yet time passed and as humans learned to bend the Earth’s gifts to their will, their greed and ambition grew. Josephine watched in horror as the forests and land were destroyed, animal disappeared forever; and the earth’s resources were stripped away, never to be replaced. Josephine felt mankind’s abuse of nature so deeply that she became bitter and angry. Her once warm, deep brown eyes turned to glacier blue as the coldness enveloped her. Josephine fed her anger, and it was she who was responsible for the polar vortex that had caused the frigid blasts to shriek across the land. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned; and maybe a blast of arctic air would remind humans to respect nature; for she that giveth can taketh away.
Stanley was awed by her story. He believed that his love for Josephine could help her regain hope in mankind once more. Yet, after years of coldness, Josephine remained untouched. In an act of self-preservation, Josephine turned Stanley to ice so she could disappear once more.
It took a month for warmth to return to Stanley. He emerged unhurt, but forever changed. He saw for the first time his true calling. Josephine, as the avatar of Mother Nature, had reminded him of the blessings that she provided, and he loved her deeply for those gifts. Stanley channeled his belief and love into forming his church, and his movement began.
Josephine said “.. thank you for your love Stanley. You have helped me to have hope once more.” Stanley looked straight into her eyes and saw flecks of glacier blue and warm brown glistening in her irises. “Your welcome,” he replied. “If it wasn't for you, none of this would be possible. We must be more respectful of that.” Josephine smiled as she walked away, and a warm feeling of love engulfed him.