The Freshly Waxed Sled

We were treated to a heavy snowfall. It stayed for a week, but now is gone. It was a nice lead up to the seasonal festival here in the hills, where the soundless blanket of frozen crystals fell from the air. It seemed as if we were living in a scene from a Christmas card.

I am old enough to remember snowfalls that almost completely buried the houses where I lived, and which endured for many months. Temporary ski slopes were created in the unlikeliest of places, and I used to go sledding almost every day. Most of the roads were impassable for traffic, so walking to school and back was akin to embarking on an arctic expedition, which came complete with freezing flurries, and howling winds. Also ambushes, and pitched snowball battles with rivals from other schools. That was 62/3. Winters have never been so good since.

One day, I was having a go on my best friend’s freshly waxed sled on the street where he lived. Face first, and like a torpedo, I flew down the hill unstoppably towards the junction at the end, accompanied only by the cold wind singing in my ears. The road down there must have been gritted that morning, because I realised suddenly as I cleared the street, that my head was about to collide with the front wheel of a moving car. He must have been the first driver on that road in months. I just glimpsed the shock on his face, when at the instant his wheel should have crushed my head, I was lifted up by the collar of my coat, still clutching the sled, and was placed standing safely on the side of the icy road. This all happened in the blink of an eye. Thinking that my friend had somehow rescued me, I turned and shouted a heartfelt thanks, but there was nobody there. My friend was a quarter of a mile away. The car slid to a halt, and the driver got out. He said nothing, just gawked at me in what looked like complete disbelief, tinged perhaps with a little bit of fear. Cognitive dissonance, I suppose. Then he drove away, and I never saw him again.

My friend was greatly puzzled, but after an excited debriefing session, we agreed that for us, angels are proven, and nothing would ever take that knowledge away from us. We were nine.

Countless, I’m sure, are the numbers of people, who have, and who will experience such things, and although we live in a world that prefers us to keep it all to ourselves, we will alway know what is really true – and so will our angels. And that has to be a blessing.

I wish you all a blessed Christmas, and a safe and holy season in the arms of the giver of life. Let us remember in our hearts, all those who will not have it so good, and perhaps find time to reflect on the ebb and flow of things that cannot be quantified by any organ other than the heart.

On the Eve of the Winter Solstice, Peace from Amras.

Soundlessly they go,
the herons passing by:
arrows of snow
filling the sky.


Yamazaki Sōkan (1464-1552), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

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Blighty Still Mightily White

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From the Land of Snow, still waiting for the Sun. But the view from my window still dazzles. Here are a few more pics taken recently by Amanda. They show how, down here in our corner of fairyland, we are still feeling the chilled breath of the North. I hope you like them.

Below are the words to a song I wrote for a Folk-Rock group that I joined once. I think it was 1970, or thereabouts.  It was definitely in Wintertime though.

 

Winter’s Snow falling down

Hungry birds search the ground

Cold my face, my hands, my feet

Warm my heart, the spirit’s heat

Far the sky, purple night

Very high, beyond sight

I will fly, string and kite

Snowdrop’s sigh, feather light

Blowing cloud, chilly wind

Through the trees, out and in

Flowing through purple night

Golden glow, spirit light

Thrown away body’s binds

Down to lay for to find

Warmer ways, peaceful mind

Thousand petalled lotus shines

Winter’s snow falling down

Sings its song, makes no sound

Sitting high on a hill

Smiling face, keeping still

Cold around cannot bite

Gentle sound turning sight

Love is found, burning bright

Snow falls ’round purple night

 

And with that, I bid you peace, and Namaste from Amras.

 

Photography ©Amanda Moloney.