The season of waiting

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Photo by Robin Lyon on Unsplash

Monday musings by Scott Bury

I am looking out the window of my study in Ottawa. I should be writing, or editing, but I feel more like I am waiting. Like the whole world is waiting.

For what?

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 Google to fix its outage so we can find the best brand of whatever else we need or want.

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 look out the window again and realize I am waiting for snow. The snow that fell in Ottawa last week has melted away, and the snow that fell yesterday did not accumulate on the ground. 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).

Photo by Sheri Hooley on Unsplash

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!

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For January 2021, it’s D.G. Torrens Tears of Endurance

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