It’s the shortest day of the year, and I find myself expectant.
I am looking out the window of my study. I should be writing, or editing, but I feel more like I am waiting. Like the whole world is waiting.
Waiting for Christmas, of course. Or other holidays.
As we all well know, this Christmas season is different from any other in living memory. Children have experience this time of year as a state of extended anticipation, waiting for Santa to come, waiting to wake up on the day to run to the tree and tear apart wrapping paper. Waiting to see whether their wishes would be fulfilled, waiting for their joy to be realized.
But in this pandemic year, we’re all waiting separately, in our small bubbles. We’re waiting for the best present of all, the vaccines against COVID-19, to arrive in our cities and hospitals and clinics and in the arms of our loved ones, neighbors, colleagues, the people we depend on and of ourselves.
This year, we doing a lot of waiting. Waiting for packages to arrive, gifts ordered from some online service or from a bricks-and-mortar store’s website.
Waiting to see whether the big-box store will get new stock of that food processor we want to buy.
Waiting for the spinning wheel to stop so we can select the gift and move on to the Checkout page.
Waiting for the page to refresh.
I’m still waiting for two things that I ordered weeks ago. I think they’re lost somewhere in Mississauga.
I look out the window again and realize I am waiting for snow. The snow that fell in Ottawa a couple of weeks ago melted away, and the little that snow that fell yesterday did not cover all the grass. With the trees bare and the sky grey, it seems the earth is waiting to be covered.
I love snow. I love to watch flakes falling, settling silently on the ground or branches of trees or fences or shoulders. There is magic in their spiral downward, in the way they dance on unseen movement in the air.
There is something inspiring about falling snow, too. It makes me want to make up new stories, stories about people in the snow, stories about sitting in a log cabin by a wood fire at night as snow falls in the moonlight.
That’s a cliché. It’s been done so many times. It’s part of every Hallmark Christmas moving (which are usually filmed in July).
Okay, how about this: a couple in a small house in a medium-sized city, cuddled under a blanket on the couch, watching the falling snow slowly hide their neighbors from view. There is a dog curled on the carpet before them, and cheesy Christmas music playing low on the radio, which is crackling with interference from the weather. The couple breathe in the scents of cinnamon, rum, a hint of dog and mostly, each other.
Or this: a woman walks down a city street, through blowing snow that stings her cheeks. Accumulating slush threatens the tops of her stylish, almost-new boots. A car goes by too fast and splashes more dirty slush on her impractical, trendy coat, making her gasp. Grumbling about the mess, she quickens her pace as she makes a futile effort to brush the slush off. Approaching the low-rise apartment building that’s her home, she sees a man standing on the front steps. She does not recognize him, but he is looking at her intently. His stare makes her heart speed up and she stops in her tracks.
Good starting points. Now if only that snow would start to fall!