Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Just because

It's the time of year when a hot bowl of chilli comforts both body and soul. Yesterday, the temperature dropped, and my hair frosted over. I had a tear running down my face from the sting of the wind, and it froze instantaneously. But, the day was beautiful. I brought my camera out with me over lunch-hour to capture the gold reflecting off the snow crystals on the tree branches. The northern sky, like that of the prairies, is just so awe-inspiringly large. I find myself turning my face upward often when I'm out and about, just so I can drink in the infinitesimal void, the infinitesimal possibilities.

By the time the schoolday was done, the sun was already setting beyond the trees, in the southern horizon. As dusk settled in, the red turned into a pale gray-blue, which deepened and changed into the red-burgundy glow of snow reflecting off the street lamps. That transformation is part of the magic of the everyday, the way snow is by turns crystalline and silky, and glows all the different shades under the myriad of every-changing skies.

At work today, I joined in the conversation between a couple of my co-workers about Christmas. One was saying it was absolutely disgusting the way she and her husband had spoiled their children with a pile of presents that seemed to have a life of its own and which morphed into an increasingly bigger monster with each passing year. The other piped in and resignedly said that she would be purchasing an iPod for her son. I told them that I never had presents while growing up. Oh, the looks of sympathy I received! I was completely not trying to get that kind of reaction from them, but there it was nevertheless. One of the women immediately asked me what I wanted for Christmas this year, whether I desired a pair of mitts or jewellery or some other item. She made the most beautiful, most sought-after fur mitts in town, while her husband made necklaces and carved pendants from antler and bone; however, I immediately told her that I'd be mortified if she gave me anything, and I meant it. The very fact that I have friends who wouldn't hesitate to be so generous is in itself the most precious gift. What more could I possibly need?

(Okay, so I could really use that tropical vacation. It'll be a gift to myself – not a Christmas gift, not a reward for hard work, not a ticket to escape the cold and dark – but a “just because” gift, just because I can, just because I want to, just because I realize I'm so very blessed.)

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