Nothing is more glorious than waking to a winter wonderland in the countryside. Ice and snow sparkle like jewels in the morning sunlight on the trees and bushes, the land blanketed with snow. Working at my desk, in a century-old farmhouse, I feel blessed in looking out a picture window onto a vista of Nature’s beauty and wealth, through all seasons.
For me, snow evokes purity, peacefulness and fond memories of a more innocent time, growing up in a new suburb in north Toronto, within sight of a farmer’s field where children skated on a pond. As a very small child, my loving father pulled me, bundled up like an Inuit toddler, for rides around the block on a tiny sled. Childhood was full of joy, in an era when children could be innocent and joyful, cocooned through the early years, and protected from the onslaught of the wider world’s countless troubles.
Among these happy memories were the summer holidays spent in the Haliburton Highlands on Lake Baptiste, fishing with my father, climbing trees and running in the fields with Fred and Ted, two boys who were my extended family, our parents very close friends. Since that magical time, I dreamed one day that I would find a home immersed in a natural setting.
Those were summers. This is showtime, whoops, snow time; but it’s the same difference. Opening the front door, what immediately is evident is the need for high boots and a snow shovel to be handy in the front hall. They become essential to step outside at all and, at times, dig a path all the way to my mailbox at the roadside. I so deeply appreciate the other times, when a friendly neighbour plows out knee-deep snow from my driveway.
Then, as well, there is the task of brushing the snow off my car, if I wish to travel. But, hey, this keeps a person physically fit. It sure beats going to the gym, particularly when traveling to a gym is not an option, if there were a gym to travel to. Well, you get my drift, and I don’t mean snow drifts.
However, I can regale you with `snow drift encounter’ stories. Take the example three years ago, a few days before Christmas. Driving home from a friend’s century-old schoolhouse where we both had been snowbound during a blizzard, I had a car accident which could have been fatal.
Note that I previously had experienced every kind of awful weather on the road – blinding rain accompanied by hail, white outs during snow squalls, and serious fog in which the world disappeared altogether. The day of my accident was sunny and the roads freshly plowed. Go figure!
My car must have hit black ice. First, it swung into a row of oncoming cars. Next, I too quickly turned the steering wheel to the right, and flew off the road into a field of deep snow drifts. The car rolled over and hit a hydro pole, caving in the roof. The latter I did not notice until I looked, with horror, at my car several hours later in a collision shop.
Earlier, back in the field, several folks had heaved my car right side up again. Only then could I open the door on my side – oblivious to the fact that glass had been shattered everywhere around me inside – without a scratch or a bruise on me. I concluded that Divine intervention enabled my survival, more so, uninjured. Unaware of being somewhat spaced out, however, I did wonder why the nice ambulance ladies insisted that they take me to a local hospital to rest, as I repeatedly informed them, “I feel fine, I feel fine,… .” Afterwards, I spent two weeks mostly sleeping, traveling nowhere, the most blissful Christmas of my entire life – filled with gratitude simply to be alive and whole.
Such is the yin yang of life. You never know what the next turn in the road will bring. Regardless, reflecting upon something to be grateful for every day can shore us up in this challenging time. This time of transition at every level of existence calls upon us, and offers so many possibilities, to create and participate in life-affirming changes.