As the sun begins to illuminate the morning sky, I look out and notice that once again the snow is gently falling on us here in Nova Scotia. This time is isn’t the windy, violent type of snowfall that occurred the other day, but rather the soft, large flakes that gently float to the ground.
It is getting lighter out, and I can see that already several fresh inches of snow have accumulated on the ground. As yesterday things were all cleared up from the weekend storm and once again there is a fresh, white blanket which covers everything in sight.
Winter in the country is beautiful. While I know that many of you have very valid reasons for not liking the snow or the cold that accompanies it – try as I may I can’t feel the same. We will just have to agree to disagree. I have been on this Earth long enough to realize that what makes this world a wonderful place is that people are different in their likes and dislikes and that is part of what makes life so special and interesting. How boring it would be if we all felt exactly the same about everything! It certainly wouldn’t be a world which I would want to live.
I love snow – especially around Christmas. I have a few memories of Christmases past where it rained or the weather was sunny and warm and to me it just didn’t feel the same. The thought of bundling up and snuggling with others and cooking warm meals and drinking cocoa are only part of the joy of the season, and all of these things I associate with snow and cold. It is just how I was brought up. This type of weather also triggers memories of venturing out in the snow with my grandfather to pick a tree when we lived on the south side of Chicago. The scene in “A Christmas Story” of them choosing the tree is exactly how I remembered doing the same – only with my grandfather and my uncle Wayne who was only five years older than I and more like a big brother than an uncle. I remember one year when one of my front teeth had fallen out and the other was loose, Wayne offered to pay me a quarter if I would loosen up my other front tooth and pull it out in time for Christmas so that I could say “All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth.” I took him up on it.
Memories like these – of the snow filled streets of Chicago – also bring warm thoughts of ice skating after school, playing football in the snow with our friends, and Christmas caroling on our way home from Gage Park after our dance lessons and basketball games. It was just as cold, but we didn’t care. I remember peeling off layers of frozen socks and hats and mittens that appeared as if they could break into pieces, and taking a nice, warm bath to warm back up again where my skin was deep pink from the cold. Then I would don my jammies and cuddle with one of my cats and have cocoa while looking at our own tree in the parlor. It was a magical time for me and these memories will be replayed in my mind as long as I live. I am happy to have them.
This morning when I awoke, I saw Edgar reading one of my Christmas cards.
Being his first Christmas, he didn’t know much about Christmas cards. I could see the wonder in his eyes and Pancakes came over to see what he was looking at. Being a cat, Pancakes doesn’t know how to read. But I was surprised that Edgar was able to read so well being fresh out of Elf School. Miss Brenda (his creator) must have taught him well.
In any case, Edgar read the beautiful thoughts from the card which I received from my wonderful Lumberjock friend, Anna. Anna is a very talented woodworker and scroll sawyer and we had the pleasure of meeting her and her husband Jim this summer when they came here to Nova Scotia all the way from British Columbia for vacation. We have a wonderful friendship which began on our mutual love of creating and had a wonderful visit. I was thrilled to get such a lovely card from them.
While Pancakes is unable to read, he was able to tell Edgar a little bit about Christmas and friendships and how he felt that they were becoming great friends as well. Edgar seemed quite happy with that idea.
Anna had made the card herself. She had used a pattern that my partner Kieth designed and cut the intricate filigree bell out of paper on the scroll saw. She then embellished the design with some beautiful crystal rhinestones. It is beautiful and thoughtful and meaningful at the same time. And we just loved receiving it.
I love this time of year. I love seeing the creativity in others that are around me. I love that many people, no matter what religion they follow, look upon this time of year to express their love and kindness towards others. I have friends of all religions – or no religions – that take this time of year as an opportunity to reflect and be grateful for all they have. And that I believe is a good thing.
I always look upon the holiday season with hope. I hope that the world will be kinder and more understanding to others around them. I hope that people realize that just because others don’t think exactly like they do, that doesn’t mean that they are “wrong” or “bad” people. I do think that in order for our world to succeed and continue to be strong, we need to be tolerant of others and their own beliefs.
Am I being idealistic? Probably so. But that is the way I am and I don’t see that changing any time soon. It is just part of the person that I am. After all – if an elf and a cat can get along so well, anything is possible.
I wish you all a wonderful Tuesday!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"