The Sparkly Season

December has dawned and winter is upon us. I finally got my snow, though you could barely guess looking out the window this morning. Sometimes, I like it that way. It makes the shared experience of early winter snow special since there is no evidence in the light of a crisp clear winter morning to remember the previous day’s soft mauve magic. If you weren’t there to feel the flakes on your nose and eyelashes, then you missed it.

I don’t think I can fully express the uplifting of spirit I felt on Wednesday night when I looked out the window to see that it was finally snowing. All the stress that had been piling up through the month of November just lifted away. I don’t know what it is about the first snows. They just make the world seem so magical. That greyish pink sky, the muffled quiet that no one dare break – hot drinks and shy smiles, people huddled in front of fireplaces chatting about nothing of substance – sometimes I think that living in a country like Norway or Iceland would be like having the Sparkly Season all year.

I have been reading up on Iceland, since I hope to vacation there next year – apparently it is quite different from Canada. The description of the differences make me think that it is a country of introverts. From Jolabokaflod (Christmas Book Flood), where people buy up dozens of books to give as gifts for the tradition of spending Christmas eve reading, to the custom of not talking to people when you see that they are out with family or friends (because intruding on their time is considered rude), I think that the hermit in me could be very happy there.

In Norway an entire culture has sprung up around the procuring and burning of firewood. People spend hours searching for the right trees, chopping them down, bringing them home, and creating the firewood piles that will keep their families warm through the long winters. People use the time they spend chopping wood as a sort of meditation and exercise.

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When I was a kid, I hated stacking firewood – well, less the stacking, because the puzzler in me does get a little addicted to that part – it was more the dirtying of my clothes and the slivers. Being an adult whose hands finally do fit into work gloves, and who knows how to dress for that sort of work, I can definitely see the appeal in it. Especially now that I am the proud owner of arthritic shoulders, I think that wood chopping would be a pretty good exercise for me over all. Yet another reason for “wood burning fireplace” to be on my new home wish list.

Winter makes me want to burrow under blankets with a warm cup of something tasty and just snooze and rest until spring. Unfortunately, I have errands to run, and plans to make for the last couple weeks of school, so hibernating will have to wait. Until then, I am going to fill up my cup repeatedly, and wish for more snow.

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