Your Best Winter Ever

Your best winter ever.

            Winter when I was a child on the farm, was the time of year when, once the animals were cared for, we could spend time together as a family – at least in the evenings. It was the only time of the year when there wasn’t the anxiety of getting up at dawn and working until well after sunset. When we finished our morning chores and had our breakfast, we would ride to school, stable the horses and start our lessons – a one room school with 15 to 18 students from grades one to nine.

            From early November onward, the teacher would have us practicing for the Christmas concert – learning recitations – singing carols. On Friday afternoons we would practice our parts for the little plays and sketches, that if good enough, would become part of the Christmas entertainment for our families and neighbours.

            On the opposite corner of the crossroads from the school, was the little non-denominational church. One evening a week, children and adults gathered at the church to practice for the Christmas Pageant, that would be combined with the school concert. And driving home from these evenings, I would sit on the driving seat between father and my brother, wrapped in a buffalo robe, warm and safe, and fall asleep.

            So, winter, although cold and dark, fraught with blizzards and days when we couldn’t leave our home because of the snow, was still a time I remember of warmth and happiness.

            And winter always held the promise of spring.

            Does any of this make sense?

            It was a time of year when I could look out of my window and see the moon shining through the undressed trees. When the sun shone through the frost fern-ed windows, it was like they were decorated with diamond dust and filled with little rainbows. And wrapped with snow, the world was so silent that one could almost hear the heartbeat of mother earth.

            So much for waxing lyrical about winter – but these memories have carried me on through many winters away from the farm, in the city, on military bases, in foreign countries and during months of mourning.

            And so, into another winter we go – caroling – anticipating – days shortening – that short day when darkness exceeds the light – then the light lengthening, darkness having done its worst. And spring sneaks up on us, giggling and dressing itself in many shades of green, with flowers of white and yellow – with birdsong welcoming its newness.

            God bless, and may this be your best winter ever.

Beverly Walker