Dear Readers, It’s been a strange kind of year, post the big C word, in a divided country with so much that doesn’t feel right with our world. Last autumn I finished the writing of a novel I’d worked on for ten years. Afterward, I fell into a self-imposed foray away from writing. Now it’s time to return to the healing power of creativity (and chocolate cake). I made the chocolate cake yesterday and I will start writing again very soon. Right now I am staring out my back window, looking at the February landscape that inspired the following post in a February a half dozen years ago. My back garden doesn’t get the afternoon sun so it is still heaped high up the trunk of the apple tree with crusty snow from December. This is a milder February that the one I wrote about when my granddaughter was a little girl, but the sentiments of waiting for spring and honey bees, while hanging on to the hopes of a few more days of skating, remain the same. New tales will come soon – here’s an old one for reflection.
…..It’s a familiar plot – girl gets winter, girl loves winter, girl wants winter to go away. This year I can’t help but be fascinated by this season, to examine all his strong points before I beg him to leave me alone. (Let me make him a ‘he’ for my analogies Kind Reader.) Oh, I’ll want him back – in a muddled accepting sort of way – but not for months and months, and not seeing a way around his strong personality and in-your-face charm.
I have to say it again – I have never, ever, ever seen so much snow in our back garden, which the weather guy backed up saying there is more accumulated snow on the ground this February than EVER recorded. It was a Bing Crosby white Christmas, preceded by a white November, and followed by a whiter still January. Albertans who can’t not talk about the weather (how else would we warn each other to not drive, to not freeze off our noses, to not slip and fall) can’t stop marveling at all the piles of deeper than ever snow this month.
I share the belief that if you’re going to live with winter for six or more months of the year you have to find some way to embrace it. Skating is my winter passion. It’s the aspect of winter I adore; the reoccurring memory of my sister and brother teaching me “one, two, three, glide”, the shiny reflective ice on a late afternoon, the sound of my blades swish, swish, swishing, the marvel of my granddaughters learning now, and along with their mom, becoming my new on-the-ice companions. But even to skate this year I’ve had to work out kinks with my relationship with winter. There’s just been so much damn snow! We’ve all had to labour just to leave the house, and to clear the walks, and to stay upright (there’s been record numbers of bone breaking falls in the city), hec it has even gotten tricky to maneuver the bumpy residential roads that are packed higher than the sidewalks with all this accumulated snow.
Now all that said – here’s where my fascination comes in – it’s with the wonder of winter – how it’s larger than life this year. I stare out at in from my writing desk, into the back yard, where the snow is heaped up so high on every surface of the garden. Overwhelmed with the irresistible urge to plow through the deep piles of fluffy whiteness, I invited my five-year-old granddaughter to join me so I might feel less silly, but had to first make pathways for her short snowpant clad legs. We marveled at how it was almost burying the pedestal bird bath, how the berry patch, the flower beds, and the vegetable garden were several feet under all that snow. We talked about the seeds in the ground that had dropped from flowers in the fall, about how they were way way down below us as we tramped along. “The snow will melt,” she said, “Right Grandma? And that will make the seeds grow to flowers and then the bees will come and make honey. Right?”
Of course, right.
One of the prettiest aspects of this winter time is how when we shut all the lights out at night before bed, the snow glows a peaceful white under the moonlight and into our home from every window. Staring out I think about the flowers, the apple blossoms, and the bees making honey when this is all over, and I can start a new romance with spring…