Thoughts while driving through winter

As the calendar page turns so does the season.

As the calendar page turns so does the season.

Yikes! Scary! People all around me are counting the days which seem to be coming faster than the snowflakes which keep on falling and falling relentlessly.

“Have you started your shopping yet?” someone asked me. “Shut up,” I say under my breath, but not out loud, of course. That would be rude. I look at her and smile and say, “ummm, no, actually.”

“You?” I knew without asking she would have started. People like that always seem to have started, finished and have everything wrapped while I’m still scrounging around for a piece of paper and a pen to write a list which I will lose. Then, I will start.

Don’t get me wrong. I am a huge fan of Christmas. In fact I am one of those less than mature people whose natural tendency is to adopt the philosophy that hope, peace and joy really do exist. And furthermore I know for a fact there is a Santa and VISA and MasterCard are not really crafty grinches who sneak in and steal our Christmas joy later, like in January. None of this thinking is practical or smart, but I like to think of it as the Christmas spirit, and I find it is oddly comforting in the face of a reality which isn’t quite as benevolent.

So, for the most part, as more and more windows on the Advent calendar get torn open, I cling tenaciously to believing in the good things you can’t really see, but just know they are there!

And, weirdly enough, as Christmas gets closer and the days crowd into each other like a topsy-turvy tower of blocks, even more crazy ideas pop into my head.

Don’t just buy gifts. Make them!

Is this practical? Is this even feasible? No and no.

But, still my mind does this rewind thing to when my kids were small and we would all draw names and make something for the person whose name we got. The kids were incredibly creative and I still have in my possession some of their wonderful labors of love; a wooden jewelry box painstakingly colored with crayons and decoupaged to last forever, a photograph album full of childish notes and letters, a less than flattering picture of me in the kitchen pasted onto a piece of plywood complete with a childish verse written and signed by my eight-year-old son.

I smile a watery tear induced smile as I think of those thoughts, almost crashing into the big truck in front of me.

“Sorry,” I mutter to the big truck, which is, of course, oblivious to me. My little jolt into reality reminded me it is not good to take a sentimental little journey down memory lane when I am on a busy highway, sandwiched, as usual, between big trucks that look like they own the road mostly because they, in fact, do.

I silently agree that I am trespassing on their road and force myself to be content to follow behind, breathing in their exhaust fumes and being all peaceful and content.

I’m not, of course. I’m mad. I want to be ahead. I have to get to work. I have a job, for crying out loud. I have stories to write, deadlines to meet. I am in a hurry.

I follow along like this for a while, being fueled by these thoughts, but nothing happens. I don’t go any faster. The truck, actually several trucks are still ahead of me.

I get really tired of looking at the rear of the truck, so I decide to look around.

It was a good choice. Magical, really. Everything was dipped in winter white, all sparkling like so many diamonds in the rough. Spruce trees and poplars alike took on a mystical beauty. Fields with hay bales delicately dipped with white frosting stretched out as far as the eye could see.

I will capture these scenes and put them on Christmas cards and people will be amazed at my creativity, I decide. And in spite of the big truck in front of me I feel good and, once again, I do believe there is something to be said for not being practical or realistic.

It’s fun!

— On The Other Side