Wednesday, December 8, 2010
I loved the feeling of soaring over our ice-covered pond or whirling into a spin like Toller Cranston. Even though the pond had tufts of grass that would send me flying, it was better than our indoor rink. When it snowed I would lift my head to the heavens feeling the frozen flakes tingle as they melted on my face. Then I'd catch them on my tongue, cooling my steaming breath.
I loved to live dangerously. And my brother helped me out by creating a unique sled renowned in our neighbourhood. He had taken a ratty recliner seat and nailed it to some old skiis. He added some ropes for navigation and created a masterpiece that couldn't be missed. Man did that thing fly! Everyone wanted a chance to drive it but it was a bear to steer. I remember narrowly missing a tree while barrelling down the high slopes of the junior high near our house.
A new snowfall would bring heightened anticipation. Standing with my back towards virgin snow, I never felt fear as I fell backward, waving my arms and legs. Then, very carefully, I would get up so the angel would be perfect. I would back away slowly, covering my tracks, creating a miracle.
One day when I was in Grade 7, we had so much snow our teachers encouraged us to build the biggest forts we could. It was the guys against the girls, the forts towering above our heads. Our teachers joined in the battle at lunch and it became WWIII. There were snipers, spys and guys without fear who ran right into our hard-packed, bullet snowballs. Almost all of us had to go home to get out of our soaked clothes. Ski pants hadn't been invented yet...
Neither had ATM's, 24-hour shopping, online stores or video games. Heck, my parents had recently bought our first black and white TV. How could I even imagine that in the decades to come almost every school child would have their own lap tops or iPhone or whatever it will be in a few years time?
It's almost impossible to get back the simplicity of those winters - Christmases where we made each other gifts. Where the highlight was spending time with our extended family, listening to their embellished stories and laughing until the turkey we just ate threatened to come back up.
I find it takes an enormous effort to bring back simplicity. What traditions do you have that echo the simplicity of winters and Christmases in your life?