The Bundle In The Snow by Ann Jaeggi

The bundle sat on the doorstep covered in snow. We had just arrived at our little vacation chalet in the hills near Einsiedeln, in central Switzerland, and our first task was to clear a path to the door and to clear parking space for our car. We planned to enjoy a week of skiing, sledding and walks in the white winter wonderland surrounding our and the 30 some other chalets here on the hillside. It was late afternoon and after clearing the snow we carried in our supplies, turned up the heat and got the warming fire started. Although the bundle aroused my curiosity and I convinced my partner not to toss it into the nearby field, we were busy and I forgot about it until the next morning. We closed the door to shut out the cold and the bundle maintained it’s stand on the doorstep overnight.

Morning arrived with sunlight streaming in the bedroom windows and onto the front door of the chalet. When our son opened the door to go out and construct a tunnel in the snow, the bundle caught my attention. I brushed the snow off and lifted it. Not at all heavy, the outside was Christmas wrapping paper held on with green ribbon. A late Christmas present from neighbors? Something delivered to the wrong doorstep? I place it on the top of the pile of firewood to allow it to warm up and dry off. After a cup of coffee, husband and son busy with the snow outside, I looked at the bundle, trying to imagne what might be inside. I slowly removed the ribbon and the wet paper. Inside was a white plastic bag with another ribbon around it. This ribbon was obviously tied by a child learning to make knots. I had to smile as I recalled how hard my son worked at making knots at a younger age. I opened the chain of knots and removed the ribbon, then unrolled the plastic bag and looked into it. Something of cloth, I realized as I slowly pulled the object out of the bag. It was a well-worn child’s blanket, corners in shreds, printed design barely discernible. A folded piece of paper dropped to the floor. With the cloth on my lap, I unfolded the paper and read, “Dear people, We are going home to Holland today. Mommy says I am too old to keep this blanket with me all the time. Will you please keep it for me until we return” signed, “Anika”. The letter had been written by an adult but the signature was written by Anika herself.

That day I dried the wrapping paper, placed the cloth in it and tied the ribbon around it. Now, 15 years later, it still sits on a high shelf inside the front door of our chalet, waiting for Anika to return for it.

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