Hello & belated Seasons Greetings! Our fourth (wow, where does the time go?) Christmas in Vernon is another wintry adventure. As I write this the world outside looks like the inside of a snow globe that’s been well-shaken. Huge swirling flakes are falling onto a landscape that is already almost entirely bleached of colour … except for the leaves still on the maple trees. This year the seasons changed overnight. Summer lasted into the beginning of November. One day it was unseasonably warm and sunny and the next it was unseasonably cold and snowy. The trees are confused and hold on to their leaves. Saved us – I mean Craig – from having to rake.
I spy a neighbour with a snow blower clearing the sidewalk in front of our house, so bundled up and snow encrusted that I cannot tell who it is, but I know that either Ron or Emily are the likely culprits. They generally beat us to the task. And it’s not because they are younger than us – they are not – it’s because they get up earlier in the morning and get to it right away. We guiltily swill coffee and watch, sitting in front of the fire, looking out the front window. I hunker down lower so they can’t see me sitting here, warm and cozy on the couch.
A year ago we moved into a barely habitable house, hosted a large Christmas gathering, and started 2022 with much work left to do on the renovation. I’d have thought we’d be done by now, but we’re still short a bit of plumbing and tiling and are still fiddling with the in-floor heating. It conked out yesterday just in time for the coldest night of the year. So we don extra sweaters and turn on the gas fireplace. As we wait for our builder to figure out the problem, we only grumble until we see Kelowna’s homeless encampment on the evening news. Tents covered in tarps covered in snow. People huddled over propane heaters. Volunteers dropping off blankets, toques and mitts. The fire chief worrying about fire. We feel guilty for complaining.
So often lately I find myself wondering how long it will be before our way of life implodes. What if the snow just keeps falling? What if supply chains are further obstructed and we run out of food or medication? What if this is the start of an ice age? What if we finally are forced to wake up from this fantasy dream of abundance and face the truth of our tenuous existence on a planet we have failed to properly steward? It used to be that when I started this kind of doomsday diatribe those around me would try to hush me up, telling me I was being overly negative. Now I find I am often listening to others doing the same ranting. And no one is telling them to improve their attitude because I think we all know we are in a burning building that’s fallen into a flooded river heading toward a steep waterfall. Or as Leonard Cohen puts it “everybody knows the boat is leaking, everybody knows the captain lied. I’ve seen the future … it is murder.”
One solution is to stop listening to and reading the news. Put my head farther up my butt and pretend that nothing is wrong. Hole up in the fortress we’ve built. Pray that netflix lasts through the apocalypse.
Despite my dismal view of what 2023 might bring I know it will not be all bad and it certainly won’t be very bad for us. There will be festive times with friends and family (and their dogs), quiet times of contemplation and thankfulness for all we have, worrisome and stressful times when life does not go as we would wish, and times when someone or something inspires hope and optimism.
Bring it on, we say. All of it. The good, the bad, the hard, the easy, the fun, the sad, and whatever else life has to throw at us.
This past year has given us way more than we deserve, most of it not just good, but brilliant. The photo gallery is chock full of the evidence.
And notwithstanding my great fear about the future, and maybe even because of it, I count my blessings every day. I especially appreciate the people in my life. Yes, that means you. Thank you!
And best wishes for a joyous new year, all year.