Originally posted at Blogger in January 2012
According to the Internet it seems we got about 6 inches of snow yesterday. As I’m the one who shoveled it, I believe it was more like 8 inches, and believe me, as some of you know, shoveling a couple more inches can be told in the old body, when one tries to get up in the middle of the night to pee. Uff I’m sore. But there is peace in the shoveling. A type of meditation in the familiar and similar movement of moving snow from the path.
I will not complain about the soreness. I am alive to feel that soreness. I have legs and arms to shovel all that snow. I am not a fan of the cold. However, shoveling does provide me a way to enjoy being “in” the snow.
I was bundled up with flannel lined jeans, and a good pair of boots, albeit a little tight. As I say frequently, I’m cheap. I bought this good pair of boots for $3.00 at my neighbor’s garage sale a couple of years back. They had belonged to his wife, my friend, Kim. She was diagnosed with Leukemia a year before my cancer diagnosis. Having cancer was one of the few things we had in common that gave us a bond. She was blond, tall and skinny. I am short, with dark frizzy hair and used to be quite chubby, now I’m just a little chubby compared to those days. Those were physical differences, the differences did run a bit deeper, but she was my friend and I loved her. She died, I haven’t yet, so she lives on for me, keeping my feet warm and a bit snug.
By the time I had to shovel for the third time yesterday it was 5:30pm and therefore dark. We have no street lights. We have no sidewalks. We used to be a dead-end street. Now our road opens to two separate subdivisions and the people who live in them use our road to get to the highway. They all drive too fast down my street. Okay, maybe not all of them, BUT they use our street so they don’t have to go slow on their speed bumps for traffic control streets. 5:30pm is when all of these people seem to be driving home, so there is the occasional car lights coming down the road. It’s good we have no street lights because then I am aware of these cars and can step back away from the road while shoveling to avoid being smacked in the posterior by those many who drive too fast for conditions. I keep my eye on them and never turn my back to the enemy. But as I stand there waiting…… I see the lights way up the road in the distance, and it is peaceful. Two lights in the dark, on a straight path, (for the moment), watching as the snow falls, waiting for their arrival. I stop and take that short moment in. I see the evergreens down the street in Mr. Rende’s yard, lightly dusted in white and I smell the cherry wood burning in some one’s fireplace. It moves me back in time. A time of no worries, 18 years old, away from home for the first extended period of my life. Traveling around in a van with four people I barely knew, O’Toole, Lori, Debbie and “Jake”, in and through and all over, up and down, east and west through Alberta, British Columbia and the Northwest Territory of Canada. Most of this foreign land filled with evergreens, cold air and snow. And oh the chance to stand in awe at the site of the Northern Lights. I arrived there with this group in the fall of 1978 and left in December of that same year, at the end of this “tour”, knowing and loving these four I had barely known just a few short months before. To me, we had become family. I would add to that family with each subsequent tour I went out on. These people changed my life forever. There were times when I may not have liked one or two of them, but I’m quite sure they would say the same about this kid from Illinois, who needed to “grow up”.
It amazes me how much my heart can miss someone who was only in my life for a short while, like Kim who is dead, but also those still living or living still. We’ve all physically, if not mentally grown old. I was a kid. In my mind I am that same kid, but matured and just maybe, I’d like to think, a little smarter. But I look at this, my face, in the mirror and the wrinkles can not lie. It shows all these years. The moments of joy are there and especially sadness. I have a map on my face of pain and illness, yet peace and abundant joy. I’ve had my share of woe is me moments, but I’ve had so much good along the path to be thankful of and for.
As I cleared the path of the driveway last night, I had time to reflect on the map of my life. A chance to escape to the “carefree” days of childhood. My husband, wearing nothing but his robe, stuck his face out the door in the cold, having just woke from his “night” to check on me, seeing if I needed a cup of warm coffee. The distance between us some how added to the intimacy of the moment, sharing my thoughts, while the snow fell on my face and he dry and warm under the roof of the patio. I chatted with him, while he in the doorway and me in the driveway. I said, “you know I always want a “White Christmas,” for the beauty of it, but the thing is I am always so busy I can’t enjoy that beauty. Presents to buy and wrap, house to decorate, places to be. There is so much stress and snow falling then just adds to the stress. I am grateful the snow waited to fall this January, because there is nothing on my agenda to get in the way tonight. When I finish shoveling I have nowhere to be, but inside, getting my pjs on and hopping into a warm bed, with flannel sheets to watch a movie with Aden”.
I rejoice in this life. I have had the opportunity to experience much. The happy, sad and even angry times. The friends I met along the way. Some of them may not remember me, or may not recognize me if they saw me across the way or the woman I have become, but they have all touched my heart. Sometimes it aches a little when I think of them and wonder where they are and what they are thinking at that moment. I am and have been fortunate to have contact with some of these people, but most not in person, there is a difference.
Last night with the snow falling, and me alone with my thoughts, it was a Christmas gift. A gift of old memories. Moments of peace and joy truly felt.
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