Saturday, December 26, 2015

All is Calm, All is Bright

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home. --Edith Sitwell
I've been looking forward to coming home to Winnipeg this Christmas. Each day this past autumn, my eyes kept wandering over to the calendar to see how much closer I was to December. And then, in a flash, it was here.

I've been feeling the darkness of winter more keenly this year: waking in darkness, and then arriving home again in darkness. Such is life in the Northern Hemisphere, and I am certainly not a stranger to it, but this year... this year seemed so DARK. And I mean "dark" with capital letters and booming, echoing voice.

We boarded a plane on Tuesday morning to come here. It was an early flight. We got to the airport shortly after 6:00am to depart for 7:20am. It was dark and frosty... and DARK. I was yawning and sleepy, even with the cup of coffee I downed before I left the house. We boarded the plane, where the flight attendant was a jolly, middle-aged man with a beard, a red Christmassy tie, and a white beard... for real. And when it came time to do the safety briefing, he sang it to us to a medley of Christmas songs in a deep, gentle voice. It was the best safety briefing ever: friendly and welcoming, and not remotely brash or annoying. We were all smiling.

We had a brief stopover in Vancouver airport, where they had turned the cart that ferries people to each gate into a red sleigh, complete with Santa, waving and ho-ho-ing and making people smile. It made me smile, too. I wish I'd gotten up the nerve to get a photo with him.

And then, I came home to a snowy winter - one of the few white Christmases in the country this year. We arrived in the afternoon, and when it was time for bed, we switched off the light, and I remembered what makes winter here so different from everywhere else I've lived. It's not just that it's so cold here...

... it's so BRIGHT.

There is nothing quite like the whiteness of snow to light up the place, both day and night. The light of the streetlights and the brightness of the full moon bounced off the show to light up my bedroom so brightly at night that I had to keep checking that I hadn't left a light on somewhere.

We went to the park today in the frigid weather to get some exercise after all of the food we ate on Christmas Day. When we got there, we found we weren't the only ones who preferred being there over the madness of Boxing Day shopping at the mall:

It wasn't so bad once you go in direct sunlight. As we stood looking over at the Red River, I was feeling quite comfortable in my double layers and wooly hat, mittens and scarf. You can see a trail there in the snow. I couldn't tell if they were animal tracks or someone snowshoeing from their house to the park:

I had plenty of choice for woollen warmth today. I finished my Cliff Hat the day before we came here. I only did three repeats, and then added a little pop of colour at the top that almost looks like a pompom. I was so excited about it that I soaked it that night and hoped desperately that it would dry by the morning... which it didn't. But luckily, the air in planes is so dry that it was ready by the time we landed:

And I liked it so much, that I made another one, this time starting with a green band and knitting it in opposite sequence. I finished it much more quickly since I had already mastered the alterations from the original pattern:

I thought I liked the one with the blue band better, but this Indigo Moon yarn is so nice, they both look fantastic. They are super comfortable, too. I gave the blue-banded one to my mom, and I took the green one. They both have had plenty of wear already:

I've started on another little project while I'm here: a pair of Cappio Fingerless Mitts. I brought along a skein of Malabrigo Rios that I've been hoarding in my collection for a while. The colourway is called Candombe, which is like a muddy watercolour palette. It's really hard to photograph. This skein has a distinct smoky green tone that I just couldn't capture. Bright days or not, I think I'll need to do some additional photos to really show these in their true colours:

The problem is that this project is going so quickly that I think I might run out of yarn to play with before I go back to the Island. Guh. Do I need an emergency visit to the yarn store when I already have an overwhelming stash at home? Oh dear... dilemma...

Still, things could be worse. I am so very, very grateful to be home with my family this year, what with my father's health being so poor. Maybe that's partly why the days also seem so much brighter: every day seems like a bonus. Even mundane things such as sitting and watching gameshows together seem like a relief... especially Family Feud...

... but let's not mention THAT, shall we?

You've probably noticed that I also spent some time working on the layout of this blog. I'm pretty happy with it, and I'll likely keep fiddling with it over the next few weeks until I'm satisfied. While I was working on it, I couldn't help but feel sad at how few posts I have written this year. I'm trying not to feel too bad about it: if there's anything I've learned recently, life is all about ebbs and flows. Maybe now that the blog is looking all spiffy, it'll inspire me to be a little more prolific with my writing next year...

That sounds suspiciously like a New Year's Resolution. Oh man. Here I am in my stretchy leggings and full belly and I'm already working on the resolutions. Maybe I better take a few deep breaths and enjoy each bright and sunny day one at a time. Yes, that seems like a good idea.

Happy Holidays, all.


YarnKettle said...

I could not agree with you more about the snow bright nights. I guess that is why it is so dark here, no snow.
I'm so glad you're having a nice time with your family.
I have to side with your mom, I like the first hat you knit better. Both are very pretty.

AdrieneJ said...

I think the first hat sort of takes the wind out of the sails for the second one. When I see the second one on its own, I feel like it is very pretty. Good thing those sibling hats will be living apart!