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Friday, December 26, 2008

Holiday in Canada

In the West Coast Rain Forest of British Columbia's Lower Mainland, Boxing Day is usually balmy and the busiest day of the year for retailers, but in 2008 we had snow. Again. The third blizzard in a week, and the snow is now so deep cars are buried half way up the doors.

I live on a hill and did not put on snow tires this year, so I left my car parked and walked to the mall, stopping along the way to watch people spinning their wheels as they tried to get up the road. Whole families came out to shovel and push their visitors' cars uphill to help their guests home. I joined a few pedestrians more than once to help, random acts of kindness for drivers unskilled in snow.

But as I am walking, the scenery is beautiful. Douglas Firs soar into snowclouds and cedars' fragrant boughs droop over the sidewalk, dropping a load of snow as I brush against them.

Robert Frost's words run like a mantra in my mind:
"The woods are lovely, dark and deep
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep..."

No, today I would not rather be barefoot at the edge of a tropical pool.
I pause and listen to the salmon stream running over stones down Burnaby Mountain.
The air is clean and still, not silent yet calm. As the city shuts down around me, I feel the moment unfold its perfection, and I am happy.

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