Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Ah Christmas! Living in the north I must say that I really appreciate the timing of Christmas arriving near the end of December. Fall around here (South Shore of Montreal) is lovely with the changing colours of the leaves, but somehow fall is always a bit of a depressing time for me. The fun of summer is over and although I am glad to be out of the excruciating heat, I can’t say that I really look forward to freezing my ass off in winter. But Christmas and all its preparations keep me distracted, so I never get hit by the big end of the depression stick until January when I take all the decorations down and the house feels so bare.

Back when we lived in the ‘burbs we used to get so much snow. We had this tiny little front yard that was about 24ft by 18ft. On to that tiny patch of grass we were expected to shovel the contents of our 60ft by 10ft driveway (and the neighbour on the other side would be trying to do the same thing). By mid-winter the front yard would be piled so high with snow that it would become impossible to add any more. We would throw shovel-fulls up as high as we could and the snow would just roll back down the hill onto the driveway. It was exhausting and it used to drive me crazy.

Now that we live out in the middle of the corn fields we really don’t get much snow anymore. I mean, it probably snows the same amount but hardly any of it lands here – it just blows right by us sideways on the wind. That’s the one constant that we can always count on out here – the wind.

Even when I’m home alone, I’m never really alone because the wind is always here keeping me company – humming through the trees, rattling the windows or whistling as it tries to rip the metal roof off the house. In spring the wind carries the rich earthy smell coming off the farmer’s fields as they thaw. In summer it blows the dirt around from the fields and occasionally brings the heavenly scent of freshly cut hay to our noses. In the fall it blows the multicoloured leaves from the trees and whips them around in mini tornados here and there. In winter it howls against the windows, buffets the house unrelentingly and blows the snow away.

But today the wind is calm. The sun is shining brightly, the sky is blue and the house is all decorated for Christmas. Life is good and I am feeling content. We don’t have any snow but we are supposed to be getting some for Christmas. I always enjoy the first snowfalls. It feels cozy to be inside, looking out at the blanket of pure white. Of course by February I am cursing the snow while trudging through it, blaspheming as I slip/slide away on the ice, and grumbling as I scrape the krap off my car.

I guess that’s part of the magic of winter. It inspires a love/hate relationship in everyone. Even people who love winter will occasionally shout an obscenity directed at the sky while trying to extricate their vehicle from a snow bank. Winter can bring out the worst in anybody.

But I think that no matter how much you hate winter, you can always appreciate a white Christmas. There’s something about a white Christmas that I can’t quite describe. We’ve had a few (not many) green Christmases and they just aren’t the same. Sure it’s easy to get where you want to go and nobody will fall and break their necks on your front stairs, but if it isn’t white outside it just doesn’t feel like Christmas.

So give me a hand and use your big end of the stick to bash that giant snowball in the sky so that we can get some of the white stuff down here for Christmas!

Wishing you peace, joy, health and may you always hold the big end of the stick.

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