On Christmas Eve

On Christmas Eve

The storm that has been kicking North America’s botty for the last few days has finally abated, the snow and ice rain receding and leaving behind cobalt blue cold.  From Friday to Sunday we battled against snow and ice, trudging through calf deep drifts with buckets of feed and water, feeling the ice pellets slip down the back of our jackets or listening to the tiny hiss of snow landing on snow.

On Friday my friends forged through terrible driving conditions to come and share part of the solstice with us.  Cosily we spent time and watched as the snow fell and fell, coating everything; but we knew the ice rain was coming next, a much more dangerous cousin.  So after sharing our celebrations everyone headed off to hunker down for the weekend.

But this morning, ah this morning.  Bright and clear and (-28C) a tad brisk, but…

DSC_0588 DSC_0591 DSC_0592 DSC_0594 DSC_0595 DSC_0602As the new sun rose, tinting the world with hues of summer, I couldn’t help but stand in awe of this place I have the privilege of calling home.  A shining world made of diamonds and glass, the reward for days hiding and rushing, dodging ice and cold.

DSC_0616 DSC_0628 DSC_0624 DSC_0619 DSC_0617Even the most mundane things were covered in sparkles and light, reflecting the dawn in a way that seemed as if it was shining in each flake at once, transforming summer chicken coops and fences into Faberge creations.

DSC_0628 DSC_0634 DSC_0633 DSC_0632 DSC_0631Last night we finished the last of our Christmas shopping, a few books that still needed to be bought.  We were out after dark, later than we ever normally would be, dipping our toes into the world of commercial Christmas and then heading home again to our cocoon.  But this morning, this is what makes the heart soar and fly.  Crunching through a crystal crust while marvelling at the presents nature has wrought.  Noticing a head of Goldenrod encased in sparkling glass, a magical bouquet beyond our making.

DSC_0636DSC_0639 DSC_0643 DSC_0640Without meaning to sound trite (but of course sounding it anyway) I was reminded that the true meaning of Christmas is not in the gifts we buy, not matter how much we treasure them.  It’s outside, the world that we walk on every day and often forget to be grateful for it’s strange miracles.  It’s the way the sun catches the light on an ice encrusted branch, it’s friends taking time to be with us, it’s long distance Skype calls to those far away but always close in my heart, it’s crazy excited kids, it’s bumping into your beloved on the daily chore run and feeling as full of joy at that meeting as I did 19 years ago.  It’s laughing at the stunning beauty while our faces are pinched hard and our toes protest that it really is time to go inside.

DSC_0637DSC_0622DSC_0647It’s all that and more, lots more.  More than I have words for and quite possibly more than I deserve.  But, knowing that, knowing how chance and luck have worked along side determination and struggle, I grab it with both hands and hold on tight.  I grab it all with both arms and squeeze the joy right to me, right inside me.  I let it sit and fizz away as I watch my wonderful family enjoy this day, as I connect to those far away that I wish I could squeeze close but settle for seeing their lovely faces and hearing their laughing voices instead.

I am blessed and I hope so are you.  Sending everyone rapturous joy this yuletide; stay warm, stay safe and have a very, very Merry Christmas.

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