Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Another cheerful January entry...

The still-beautiful corpse of our Christmas tree remains outside awaiting her date with the chipper. This morning's high winds have brought indignity: sometimes I look out to see the tree lolling on the sidewalk, or in the gutter, or in the street, or on the front walk... My hands are sticky with sap. I've brought out my dead; where are the City lads that should have done the pickup three days ago?

At least the wind may dry the pavements before the next cold snap. The past 3 days have been almost balmy. I actually walked down to the coffee shop this morning in street shoes and a fleece jacket. A couple of evenings ago, I sniffed the night air and smelled the unmistakable aroma of a Victoria winter, all dampness and decay. (No sea breezes, though. Sigh.) However, the expedition up the hill to younger daughter's school requires my waterproof winter boots. And double socks, because walking your socks off is no fun. You cling to the inner edge of the sidewalk as you venture into SUV and minivan territory, apparently necessary for Upper Suburbia. Some drivers do slow down and try to avoid the gutter pools of filthy water, but others sail through, leaving an ice-water curtain and a wake. After a splattering yesterday, I glared at the retreating tank-like vehicle and saw the woman (why is she always blond?) gazing into the rear view mirror. She fluffed out her mane with her doubtless manicured fingertips and vanished into the mist.

Elder daughter called from school this morning to say she'd be late coming home. I hung up and realized with a start that she'd been speaking in my sister's voice. A family tragedy has cast its shadow over elder daughter's high school and younger daughter's elementary school. A few years back, one of the local families lost its father, leaving 3 children under twelve. I had assumed at the time, not knowing the family, that this had been a stroke or heart attack. It turns out that the cause is a disease affecting the male members, and yesterday the eldest son, age 17, was buried. The youngest son is a grade ahead of younger daughter, and yesterday the Grade Six teacher, who team-teaches with younger daughter's Grade Five teacher, was absent while attending the funeral. What can be said (that isn't trite, inadequate, pietistic, or presumptuous) to address the heartache and loss, of the mum, middle child (a daughter), and this younger son who is seeing two possible visions of his future?
True, none of us have guarantees, whenever we say goodbye to one another, that this is not the last time. But to have this....certainty? almost-certainty? hanging over you. Dear God...

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