Anne is getting ready for Christmas. And shoveling snow. Wrapping packages. And shoveling snow. Trekking to the post office to mail things. And shoveling snow. Baking Christmas cookies. And shoveling snow . . .
It’s a white Christmas season, even if we don’t know yet if it will be ‘officially’ a white Christmas. That is, I learned when I moved to Iowa all those years ago, a year in which it actually snows on the day itself. And the best, ‘most official’ ones are those in which it starts snowing late on Christmas eve and continues throughout the night so that when the kids wake up on Christmas morning, there is a beautiful white blanket of it on everything.
It is also the year you hope you got them sleds and not bikes or other outdoor wheeled transportation for Christmas!
This year I’ve been shoveling a lot of the white stuff – and while it is beautiful, it got in the way of transportation this past weekend.
A good friend whom I have known for years and years and years – since we were four, in fact – had to go to Chicago this past week. And after she finished her obligations there, she was coming out on Saturday morning to spend the day, the evening, and the next morning before driving back to catch a plane to the west coast. That was the plan.
It went awry, as winter plans often do. She called me bright and early on Saturday morning and said it had snowed 5” so far where she was staying. It was snowing outside my window, too, so we agreed that in the interests of safety, she should stick to Chicago for the day and we would see each other another time. Maybe next summer out west. Maybe next winter, here. Maybe it wouldn’t snow next year, she said optimistically.
Maybe, I said with a bit more doubt in my voice.
I was looking forward to seeing her. I’ve seen her once – four and a half years ago – since 1968. We’ve kept in touch, some years more and some years less, since she moved to the Pacific Northwest when we were in high school. But she is one of those people I will always feel a connection to no matter how long we go without seeing each other, without writing letters or talking on the phone.
The fabric of our lives is woven together. We’re sort of like a plaid – a particular thread is picked up now and then, highlighted, and then it disappears for a time, only to reappear when the time is right. I have no doubt that she could come up with a better fabric-related metaphor because that’s what she does. Her name is Melody Crust and she is one of the most amazingly talented fiber artists I’ve ever seen.
When I was working on a book a few years ago called Antonides Forbidden Wife, it was because of her work. The sorts of things she did inspired my creation of my heroine, Ally. It was one of those “where do you get your ideas?” moments that are pure gifts. I was so much looking forward to seeing her again, to spending a couple of days just reconnecting, touching on the past and the present and, perhaps, making plans for the future.
Instead I spent it shoveling snow.
Ah, well . . .
I’m shoveling more today – and it’s not even winter yet!
I wish you all the joys of the holidays, whichever you celebrate, and hope to see you here at the Pink Heart Society again next year!