Winter offers a few reasons to smile

I tell myself no. No, I do not want to leave this cocoon of blankets and warmth and softness.

I tell myself no.

No, I do not want to leave this cocoon of blankets and warmth and softness.

No. I’m not ready to rise and shine — or even to simply rise.

I want to dream some more dreams where life is all happy and good and people smile a lot, eat crazy amounts of pastries filled with whipped cream and still maintain Barbie Doll figures. I want to dream some more about warm places where love and joy and good news floats around on idyllic breezes that sigh little sighs of pure happiness.

The alarm jangles a warning into my fantasies.

“Get going, girl, the new day has arrived,” it says in alarm talk language.

Obediently, I get going. I’ve been awake for less than three minutes when I remember what I’m supposed to do next.

Exercise! Right! The benefits of exercise which seemed so clear the night before now escape me. I decide to simply imagine it is one of my good habits.

I have the habit of exercising, I mutter like a well-trained zombie, zipping up my coat and stumbling out the door.

One step, two steps, three steps, four. Wow! This is me. I’m doing it, I’m walking.

I trudge along, my footsteps creating little tufts of white in front of me.

Alberta in the morning. White on white. Alberta in the evening. Same, only darker.

This morning the temperature hovers between cold and really cold and the sky is weird; not black, not blue, but just kind of in-between.

The weird blue light that tells me it is very early yet.

As I trudge along, head down, really cold hands thrust in pockets, I watch the snow come to life in the weird blue light, sparkling like a great many really expensive diamond rings. And the street lights illuminate everything, like stage lights in a magnificent, silent play.

I tell myself to become one with the landscape and I won’t be so cold. I imagine golf courses and being one with the ball.

I remember making two pars in a game. Okay, that would be a false memory, but, whatever, it certainly makes this walk seem more fun.

I walk some more, facing reality, cold and white. I am an Alberta girl, born and raised on this prairie soil, where winter white lasts a really, really long time.

I am a windshield scraper, snow shoveller, snowman maker, hat, mitt and scarf wearer, who went through her teenage years dressing really silly in little coats, no mitts and running shoes, who has since learned to defy fashion and dress in 14 layers and wear wool socks.

And because I am an Alberta girl, I know there are much better ways to wake up than to feel the sting of a thousand icicles against your face, which is what facing a north wind feels like.

And yet, I’m glad that at least in most mornings I lose the argument against myself and get my complaining self out the door and go walking.

I don’t miss it, then. The magic. The magic of the soft blue light of morning, the silhouettes of dark and still houses against the street lights and the hush that lies over everything.

And, for that very reason, on my last walk, after I had trudged my layered self back to my own yard, I cast a quick glance around, hoped no one was watching, and allowed myself to act much younger than my years.

And, later when my husband asked me who made the snow angel on our front yard, I said, “What snow angel?”

But when I left for work this morning I gave the angel a secret little smile.

And I swear, she smiled back.

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