Here today, I looked at the sky and whispered, “Not here, not now, but then…”
No white is present, the air has a chill,
but nowhere is there snow. Remarkably though, I remember when…
From summer to autumn and beyond fallen leaves, we had waited with anticipation for the first snowfall each year. Sometimes it arrived in time for Halloween… Sometimes, following the cold snap of November and almost always, in time for Christmas. We had always prayed for snow by Christmas Eve –
After all, how would the reindeer land on the roof?
You can imagine our delight Christmas morning when we went outside to see hoof marks crafted from snow balls thrown atop, only to bounce down and trick us into thinking that Santa had actually parked beside the chimney to make his grand entrance. Ahhh… the snow marked the holidays and it was indeed a treat. A treat we could eat – for months at a time – sun splashed, dusted peppermint patties piled up and banked, sometimes twenty feet high!
In my northern home town – Lord Thundering Bay, in winter, we welcomed the snow. It’s taken for granted, as here on the coast, are the endless ocean miles. Up there though, the wilderness is defined by dense bush and bottomless freshwater lakes, frozen over as winter takes its icy hold. Quite a contrast from what I have come to know – here and now…
Contrast between; hot and cold, chilly and warm. Icy water in frigid lakes at zero to freeze.
Or if you remember, as I do,
you’d know that the snow ideally falls minus 32F degrees.
Burning ice versus burning flame.
Both can burn – but they’re hardly the same.
Frozen solid streams – where water trickles beneath the surface and slowly carves a widening path come spring. Snow in storms with volume and force, just as powerful winds build waves on the sea. The surf swells. The snow drifts – to bury both you and me… Deep soft powder and white snow capped peaks delight those who can see from above, riding chairlifts and gondolas to mountain tops, just to swoosh down again over smooth wide runs or to tackle packed moguls that challenge man against nature.
Snow brought excitement – skiing, tubing, sliding and gliding cross-country over pressed trails – hands clad in gloves gripping poles for propelling and picking up speed.
Contrasting white frosted pines to branches of green reaching skyward…
Blinding snow, blowing from whipping swags and
slapping your face like a snapping rubber band –
leaving dotted and frostbitten, moist, pink-puffy cheeks…
My fondest memories are of tons of snow –
enough to enjoy a horse-drawn sleigh ride.
Family and friends perched high on stacks of hay,
as we slid over trails cut just for the sleigh.
There were bodies of all shapes and sizes and bundled babes
in colourful layers of synthetic fibres,
goose-down covering our long-johns and, of course,
warm winter boots, toques and scarves… and mittens were a must.
We lasted outside an hour or so – bodies flying off the rear,
tumbling and stumbling knee-deep in snow,
racing to catch up, just in time to be heaved off again…
Sweat formed a stripe of frost on our hairlines and dripping beads of moisture would soak our undergarments. These were quickly peeled off and laid upon the wood stove for warming upon arrival back at the chalet and barn. We left our footprints trailing the sleigh, mixed with memories and horse hooves that marked the trail… And our snow angels spread their wings amongst the soft white sheet of serenity that covered the farmers fields.
Who was thinking then, of the contrast to the scad strips of garments that barely covered the same intimate parts at another time of year? Not us northerners! The snow sometimes stayed for months… and during this time, as long as we played, we didn’t dare think about summer!
Stick out your tongue –
catch a snowflake… Stick out your tongue –
exhale and see the cloudy frost of your icy breath… Stick out your tongue – if you dare – and place it gently upon the metal fence post… And I can guarantee – for if not a fool –
would you stick out your tongue again?
Before the stormy sky turned white,
with thickened clouds that met above – this mist
transformed moisture into big, fat, falling flakes –
until a dusting covered the earth and accumulated on the ground in a blanket of tranquility.
And then the sun reappeared…
And the snow resembled glistening diamonds,
blinding with a silvery blue hue …
And the shadows danced to our desires to get bundled up,
to go outside again to play… For we knew we had to go, right then –
because the snow was never there to stay.
I’ve always tried to deliver before the holidays, but here I am, post-Christmas at final draft and meeting my self-imposed deadline of delivery, with wishes for a Happy New Year! I look forward, with excitement and anticipation towards next year – as the best is yet to come! 2015 really forced me to live in the present and this a habit that I will keep as a practice!
It has clearly been a year of continued transitioning, repositioning, celebration and preparation… Transitioning A couple of trips back to Ontario the first half of the year allowed me to break free from my nasty back and complete the sale of my river retreat.My lease-to-own buyers kept me worry-free from the time I had moved away in October 2014 – and continue to love the riverside, even more than I could, since taking full possession in May. I feel very lucky that I am able to visit anytime and remain connected with so many great friends from the area. I returned to clear out the garage rafters and parted with any remaining items – lots of great give-aways! I had decided to burn a decade of files, which deserved to be diminished to ashes. It was truly cathartic to leave behind memories of some difficult times that served no one (except lawyers, of course!) With my best buddies, we ceremoniously danced around a huge 3-day bonfire, sharing words of wisdom and sips of wine, amidst laughter and tears. I took very little with me when I left, having sold my house and most of its contents. I feel much lighter now – and very much at home in my cozy little carriage house on top of a hill. The mountain views are spectacular and I’m surrounded by nature – deer at my doorstep and hummingbirds here, all winter long. I’m living now in an adorable little hamlet calledMetchosin. It is situated on the west shore of Vancouver Island, just minutes from several beaches and the rain forest. In many ways, it reminds me of Kawartha Lakes region, with a population of about five thousand; a weekly farmers market, several roadside fruit and flower stands, the annual Metchosin Day fair and a wonderful community of friendly folks who have made my transition most welcoming. The area is known for its artisans and musicians, along with magical places to explore – it’s just 20 minutes from downtown Victoria and in the other direction, Sooke – which offers some of the best sea kayaking, cycling, hiking and whale watching views in the country! My favourite locales this past year were shared with those who came to visit. I brought here, the fondest of memories of times with many of you – my friends and family – and I look forward to making new memories and hosting anyone who desires to reunite and explore this very best coast!
Celebration Much celebration this past year – especially with the private sale of my river house. Although it was a heck-of-a-lot more work than I had anticipated, I ended up with a few more bills in the bank and little remaining responsibility – which is why I am able to call this my “freedom 55” year! This past week I celebrated my 55th birthday with my mom, just as I had imagined! The sun shone brightly as we flew over the Pacific ocean in a Cessna 172, watching in astonishment pods of whales spouting below. We buzzed over the city of Victoria and then headed southwest, climbing altitudes to nine thousand feet, above snow capped peaks and pines that looked like they were dusted with a spray of ice – just enough to hold us breathless!
I relished in many warm birthday wishes from Facebook friends along with phone and Skype conversations – and even though I’m now living in BC, feel more connected than ever. Thanks to those of you who have made an effort to stay in touch – I feel truly blessed to have each and every one of you in my life. I spent one month visiting this past summer, and between northern and southern Ontario, had achance to celebrate with friends and bid fond farewells, especially to Carl who sadly left us Christmas day to join the chorus of angels in heaven. A dear friend to all who knew and loved him, he will be sadly missed. For me, I’ll always remember him as the person who helped me to find my voice again – and I’ll sing forevermore in his honour.
The highlight of the year was niece Kylee’s wedding in June, where I it was delightful to be in the company of our entire family and my amazing kids, Jaye (now 27), his wife Sarah and new G-baby Emma who will be 2 years young in March. She is such a joy for our family – yet the distance is difficult as she is growing so quickly! Leigh (now 23) graduated this past year after 5 years of study and we cheered her accomplishments with a fun getaway to Niagara Falls in spring. She is living in Guelph with her partner Brendon, and their fur babies, happily working in her new chosen career as a Vet Tech. This mama is so very proud, but wishing at times that we were much closer between miles. I look forward to family Skype time, as much as possible. Both kids visited the island this past year and most of my siblings also arrived for short stints, as mom and dad have relocated nearby at Bear Mountain.
They are both adjusting to dad’s post-stroke reality, just taking it one day at a time. We enjoy our Sunday dinners together and mom and I play the occasional game of Scrabble and make time for others, as time permits. I have been blessed with many new friends in my west shore community, who share my interests with music, hiking, pets and growing families, along with life’s inevitable transitions and changes.
Repositioning This past year I began to establish a new direction as I continued to shift from the “ON-terrible” standards of work that involved no rest for the wicked. I took the opportunity with my move to recover from overload and take some time for self-nurturing. As a result, I have experienced improved health, with mainly alternative options and have had no time constraints for discovering opportunities and learning the latest technology, which continues to peak my curiosity. I’ve been establishing new partnerships and feeling a surge of energy from my coaches and mentors as I expand my businesses online. I am able to work virtually from anywhere as a consultant, trainer and coach, and will continue to serve a global portfolio of clients, and with a new direction for the future, which will involve combining work, pleasure and optimal health. My Moksha Yoga family and daily practice has been a huge part of my expansion and personal evolution that has brought me full circle, back to the work I’vealways loved in the fitness and lifestyle area.The decision to “go coastal” has been instrumental in guiding me towards living a much deserved, healthier lifestyle and I am happy to admit that I am working much smarter, and not harder. Thanks to those who have supported my efforts to become the best version of myself, and to those who have helped me to transition and evolve. I look forward to sharing my experiences and continuing to help others to learn and grow.
Preparation Having had to adjust to various unexpected surprises in the past, I feel better equipped now to deal with life’s challenges and yes, I’m that much older and wiser too! I have some clearly defined goals and expectations for the future and am preparing for the next fifty, knowingly, with our female longevity genes! I don’t have the luxury of benefits or a retirement package, like many of my soon-to-retire-pals, but I have certainly enjoyed being self-employed, withmuch success over the past thirty-plus years. I expect thatI’ll keep working as long as I like, doing what I love and that someday, I will perhaps slow down. But, for now, 2016 will be a year of planned adventures – for both work and pleasure. I have some new and exciting projects in place and will travel much more this coming year with a new venture, that will align with my interests and lifestyle and provide focus for expanded business. This is also my dedicated publishing year with more time for blogging, ebooks and many new program offerings both in person and on the web. I look forward to sharing more about this new direction and will continue to provide updates via social media, wherever you may be– and this is where we can look forward to staying connected until we meet again!