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time out: calm before storm

Never have I been so grateful to be as old as I am. When I think of Christmasses past – as I wrote in the essay posted on FB – there was so much to do, so many people to think of, I was stretched as thin as I’ve ever been. But now, I’m mostly ready a few days in advance, happily, because a big storm is coming in tonight. Today was like spring, mild and sunny, but tomorrow will apparently be a chaos of snow and freezing rain. 

I think of the women with full-time jobs who were counting on doing last minute shopping and prep tomorrow and Saturday. And everything so much more expensive this year, food and much else. Whereas for my ancient self – the gifts are wrapped, including a bag of chewies for Bandit, almost all the groceries for the dinner are in – will need to schlep out for the turkey and a few more things. I don’t bake and have a minuscule fake tree. Sam and Bandit just came over to help wrap lights around the cedar at the front, now a messy tangle of red, yellow, and white. 

Tonight, nine of my home class students are coming for our annual festive gathering. The chickens are cooked, the potatoes are mashed, and they will bring the rest. Grateful for friends like these. Grateful my children live across town so will not be travelling far through a storm, and that Mum and Auntie Do will not have to either. This Christmas, I just realized, will be the tenth anniversary of my mother’s death, at 3 a.m. Christmas morning 2012. A yahrzeit candle will burn for her all day. 

I’m afraid to write about how calm everything is, because it’s asking for trouble. 

I think of the people living in tents in Allan Gardens. Yesterday they were unpacking a big stack of wooden pallets, I guess to raise the tents off the ground. There’s a big central tent with a fire going all the time. It’s like something from a refugee camp, in the heart of Canada’s biggest metropolis. To our shame. 

Zelenskyy — has there ever been a better example of the right person at the right time? Could he be more perfect for the terrible job he has been assigned? His courage and clarity are saving his country. And his wife too. How the vile little Russian leader must rage, to hear the man he hoped to crush praised to the skies, as he deserves to be. Noble is a good word here. A true mensch. 

Yesterday, in a first, I was invited for dinner by the new tenant in the downstairs suite. Carried my bottle of wine down the basement stairs and knocked on the bedroom door. It’s wonderfully cosy there. Someone else’s world, beneath kitchen floor. 

That’s it – just taking a moment, before the guests arrive, to say a profound thank you for this moment in time. Here’s a perfect picture I will send to Sam, because his nickname is Giraffe. And a message for us all. May you take a moment, in the frantic rush of this time, to breathe. 



2 Responses to “time out: calm before storm”

  1. Trevor says:

    Merry Christmas Beth – thanks for the many insights and inspirations.

  2. beth says:

    Trevor, hope we meet in person some day. In the meantime – Merry Christmas to you too.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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