Saturday, 5 January 2008

The whirligig of time

And the grey afternoon slips away to Twelfth Night. This evening will be the last full evening that the lights glow outside our porch and the Christmas tree shimmers in the study. My mental view of the year is a physically impossible oval: The months I like the least, January to June, make a straight line east, through the summer months of July and August, with a hairpin turn back into September which leads west to the gently curving haven of Christmas. No matter how good or bad a Christmas is (this one leaned toward being one of the better ones, although a Christmas spent in Ottawa will always be far from perfect), it's still a sort of brightly lit harbour where the demands of the school year are kept at bay temporarily. Now it's time to pack a lunch, prepare the spelling lists, set up an evaluation with the developmental psychologist. Elder daughter has already been typing up school assignments due mid-week. I stick stickers and write notes in younger daughter's bedroom calendar to help her slip out of Christmas and back into the perils and struggles of her school day, a bit like she slipped down a snowy hill yesterday, sometimes on a red plastic saucer with yellow edges, sometimes just her own body along a grey chute prepared by other children: steep, slippery and a specially-created bump at the end to send one flying. She dragged her mittens in the snow to control the inevitable descent. I can't cushion her fall.

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