This Season of Snow and Light

flickr - katmere

The first few appearances of snow and the myriad forms of light that mark this time of year effect me deeply. I suspect it’s partly because of childhood memories and partly the need to “step away” and find moments of sanity during the craziness of this holiday season…

I’m not a lover of snowstorms. In fact, my preferred method of riding out a storm is staying inside my house all warm and cozy, watching it through the window. However, when the storm is over and the sun shines down, picking out all the sparkling facets and everything has been coated in pure white? Oh, I love it! I get this big grin on my face and a feeling of contentment. And sometimes, the urge to run out and make snowangels.

Years ago, my husband and I visited his family in Canada. This was about an hour north of Montreal, in the foothills of the Laurentian Mountains. Winter is different up there. They don’t have the humidity that makes winter so bone-chilling in New York. Anyway, one of my favorite winter memories is an after-dinner walk with my husband. (Which we desperately needed after the series of huge meals his family lovingly forced on us!) 

This is a rural, wooded area and we walked up the lane to the top of a small rise and looked back. Stands of pine trees loomed near on one side and a slight distance away on the other side, the snow on their branches appearing blue in the dark. Below us, the lights of the tiny community promised warmth and hospitality. It really didn’t seem all that cold, though the temperature was well below freezing. Except for the sounds of our breathing and whispered conversation, everything around us was still, a moment frozen in the quiet cold. I get goosebumps remembering.

There is something primeval in a single light illuminating the dark. I almost feel a kinship to the early pagans and their winter solstice rituals. A bonfire lighting the night sky. Warmth and light before us and the cold dark at our backs. We can imagine a simpler, harsher time when it was believed the light repelled evil and death.

Flickr - Dominic Alves

When I was a child, my favorite part of the Christmas Eve Candlelight Service at church was at the very end. We each held a small, unlit candle and got up from our seats and formed a circle around the edge of the sanctuary and even up the stairs to the second floor balcony. As we began to sing “Silent Night,” the minister used his lit candle to light the one of the person next to him. This continued on, each person lighting their neighbor’s candle, until all were alight. During the last stanza of the song we lifted up the candles above our heads, singing. And as the last note echoed around the open space, there was always a brief hush.  

Flickr - KOMUnews

The brightly lit Christmas tree is another icon of wintry magic to me. When I was young, I wore glasses (I’m very nearsighted) and I loved to lay down on the floor, look up at the Christmas tree, and take off my glasses. All I could see were the bright colors melting together and flashes from the light reflecting off the ornaments. Funny what will capture a child’s attention. Even now, in the bright light of day, I have to have the tree lights turned on. A Christmas tree just doesn’t seem alive to me until it is lit.

Flickr - Leah Gregg

Where ever you may be, whether you have snow or not, may there be light to guide your way and fill your soul.

 

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10 comments on “This Season of Snow and Light

  1. duke1959 says:

    What a Beautiful post!

    Like

  2. ekcarmel says:

    Thanks for stopping by, Duke, and for the lovely compliment!

    Like

  3. Tammy McLeod says:

    Lovely! I loved the part about kinship with the pagan rituals and share an early love of the candlelight service with you.

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  4. duke1959 says:

    no problem.

    Like

  5. Carrie Booth says:

    Eileen, you made me start looking forward to Christmas with this story! You and Andre are truly blessed to be such a loving couple…you can feel the love thru your words. Just amazing how your words transported me to those woods…thank you for sharing with us!

    Like

  6. I add my sentiment on what a great post this is. When we were younger my husband and I used to love to walk in the snow for miles. As we got older we changed to four wheel drive and drove in the mountains and hills in NC. Now we just sigh and enjoy the snow from our back porch.

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    • ekcarmel says:

      Thank you, Angela. I figure as my husband and I get older, the progression will be similar. That’s why I’m really working on making time to do these things together despite the craziness of both our schedules.

      Like

  7. Deon says:

    d6Excellent part, most of the reports within the society in one location. Which is the things I seemed to be buying couple of hours on line. I’m grateful usually were able to find details the foilgwlno.21

    Like

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