I feel the warmth of life inside of me… Too long barren, I sigh with happiness. The little birds were sweet companions, but I was meant for more… I wrap my protection around my precious inhabitants. They will be safe here, no matter what happens.
The wind blows and I tremble. Snow falls and I carry it on my shoulders. Rain slashes against me and floodwaters swirl around my feet, but I will let none of them overwhelm me.
As life blossoms and a new soul is born, warmth and joy spread through me like a river. Laughter fills what was once aching emptiness, and I feel again the intense pleasure and searing responsibility that new life brings.
Sometimes I am empty and my loved ones cry with hunger. Sometimes the cold seeps in against my will and touches them with icy fingers. Sometimes I break… But through it all I am their protection, and they are my very reason for existing.
When the time is right and the morning dawns clear, they will venture forth from the safety of my arms. I will watch them as they travel, ever anxious to hold them upon their return.
I will stand, strong and steady, an immovable presence that they can depend on in any circumstance.
Cold? I will warm them.
Hot? I will cool them.
Pursued? I will shelter them.
Tired? I will be their safe harbor for the night.
Some day, when I’m ancient and broken, these memories will be what warms me. When my strength fails and I become a danger to those I once protected, when I crumble to dust and return to the earth, this will be my legacy…
And, if I’m very lucky, perhaps a single fading board from my once-unyielding wall will be preserved and placed on the new barn where I once stood. Maybe, in some such small way, my labor of love will never end.