Landing was but one of his concerns. The second winter storm of the year had come riding in on the cold artic air some hours ago. The whiteness filled the skies as darkness fell upon the land. Those trees of summer, slight against weight, had long ago dropped their leaves in anticipation of such a happening; only the stoic evergreens stood tall and straight, boughs flush and thick, well insulated against the storm.
The first of the snows skated across the ice along with the bone chilling wind, and clumps of snow piled against one side of the huge lake, doing all it could to clime the banks and move further into shore. As the storm grew in intensity, small islands of snow mounds formed on parts of the frozen vastness, and now refused to move at all. This was the darkest time of year, and the coldest.
Of course, he saw none of this below. He found himself in the midst of the swirling storm but a short time ago. No GPS. Why bother now after all these years—full speed ahead to a destination that required his attention. Plus, he knew enough that the danger was slight, if impossible to predict. Most people would be home, warm and safe, tucked in their beds. Besides, his worrying about place and circumstance would be nothing more than a distraction. He had to do what he had to do.
He also knew enough, that getting there was a certainty of sorts. He had never failed before; and sometimes he even wondered if the travel had anything to do with him at all. It was not like he was alone, though there be no one else to talk to at the moment. Still, the mission required a team. He might be the one responsible to find an entryway; but not unlike a car race where the driver looks to be the only necessity, all the preparation, the skilled maintenance as they drove the race said much about the need for a multitude of people. So it was with him.
He was lost in the reverie of the moment when a jolt grabbed his senses. He brushed the snow from his brow and peered out to where he might be. He concluded the jolt had not been loud enough for anyone inside to hear, and he stepped lightly into the new fallen snow. A smile spread out across his face. He had much to do tonight. He always found it a good sign that his first job involved his traditional approach.
He took the sack and dropped down. It never failed to amaze him that for all his girth he was as agile as a mouse stealing through a maze of rafters. He barely touched the sides as he landed on his feet. No time to look around. He took the cookie from the plate, emptied the sack beneath the tree, and as quick as Jack Flash on a hot stove he sprang back up the chimney and jumped onto the sled.
He was on a mission to steal all the sadness from the world and spread joy and the holiness of giving to all. The red light of the lead reindeer shone through the swirling snows. The old man lifted up his head and bellowed, “Ho, ho, ho, Merry Christmas to all.”