Reflections teaser

Once special eve in December

By Rita Joan Dozlaw

All day long, I watched the slow flakes float down and melt on the chill of earth. Around 5 p.m. the wind came up and the thermometer dropped. I could tell bad weather was on the way. Snowflakes grew crystal limbs while performing a lingering sideways dance and, in an instant, changed their minds. The ultra-pristine formations dove vertically to meet mother earth. The more that fell, the closer the flakes drew to each other silently collapsing together. They painted a big white bed-comforter over the field. I sensed that they listened as they dozed there. The hush of night bade them goodnight long past the twilight hour when they’d first appeared on the horizon. The setting fire eater had long left its peach silhouette beneath the lowly clouds; dark now.

Throughout the day, I’d looked up to the slight rolling foothills with their mountains, like protectors, towering behind them. I noticed the verdant greens gradually become taupe in the shadows and with snow apologizing for its chill, the mountain grew warm with shades of purple against the sky. Fading under a soft veil of grey, the sullen river ceased to rage as an icy layer crept over the surface of the scalloped shoreline and diffracted silver slivers of light.

While I was outside witnessing the wonders, my legs grew restless, so I parked myself on the old bench which, like me, couldn’t take its eyes off the changing spectacle. Relaxing there, I unwrapped my huge wool shawl from my shoulders and let the crisp air refresh my fleshy double-chin and my throbbing-with-life throat. Swallowing hard, as the cold smattered into my skin, the chill went all the way down my spine, and I revelled in the thrill of the shivers. I was not at all acclimatized and could never have pictured myself enjoying being outside on such a frigid evening, but the whole universe had seemed to call me out. “Come, look over the lay of my lair,” Mother Nature whispered on the wind.

As well as looking over the fields, hillsides and mountains, I gazed back at the glowing windows of my cottage on the river. Jack Frost, with his nimble grainy fingers, had done a fine job painting the panes like a translucent mirror. The etchings spoke of what the glass saw in the distance… the forming of a winter wonderland. I hugged my chest with my checkered, thick-knitted arms and closed the knobby woolen shawl around me. It felt warm as though it had never abandoned my neck. It was all part of the seduction of the transitioning weather, and it made me breathe deeper. I closed my eyes and felt the sensual touch of flakes on my lashes.

The hours of waiting throughout the day, and being outside in the elements as the scenery changed, was worth any discomfort I had. Even though my eyes watered, my nose sniffled, and my toes tingled while snow hurled about me, I was content. I am part of a fabulous winter painting. As the smoke from the chimney of my cottage hung in the air, in my imagination I held a candle, lit it, and allowed Mother Nature to snuff it out. When she calmed the wind, she ordered the snow to melt upon my cheeks, nose and lips. That’s when my heart melted, too, as I welcomed all her lingering moist kisses.

The great storm I expected had not happened. The signs had cleared and, later that evening, as I sat out on my snow-covered porch steps in the lamp light, the snow-light, and moon-light, I observed the dim spectrum of an asterism marking the heavens. It was hard to tell, but the universe seemed to struggle to hold onto its star-shine… perhaps like the night, so long ago, when the starry hosts were overshadowed by the single brilliant star which hung out to guide weary travelers to Bethlehem where the holy baby was born.

A calm aura swept over me on that one special eve. It was a few nights before Christmas; the night I quietly and blissfully celebrated 2021’s winter solstice near the North Thompson River.

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