As the bitter cold sets in, as the snow falls, and the world around me freezes solid; as the Earth sleeps and things die to be reawakened in the Spring, I remember…
This was His renewal, every Winter; His time to emerge, embracing the lack of life with excitement and appreciation.
An appreciation for cold, quiet, a sereneness that kept a lot of what disgusted him at bay; a cleansing of sorts. A Rebirth for Him.
I reflect, often, daily, of my father at this time of year, as the cold bites and the snow falls. Each time I kick my boots off getting into the car, as he insisted I always do. It is the season that defined him, enlivened his spirits, and warmed his soul.
His favorite time of year! He ran hot, and it was a time to embrace the exhilaration of the cold. A cold that most shield from, shiver in, bundle up for protection from, and avoid if possible. Not my father: He stepped out, smiled, opened his arms wide, with not much more than a sweatshirt, pants, and boots on, and let the cold invigorate him!
A white blanket of freshness. It covered the disrespect that warmth reveals. It reduced the contamination of unmindfulness.
As others shut in, like bears hibernating in winter, he was enlivened by the quiet and reduction of disconcert; it reduced, for a short time, so much of what frustrated him about others’ disregard for their fellow human beings and the environment. Limiting the pandemonium of life.
A time for him to show gratitude and kindness. Winter, a season that defined him, TENACIOUS, RUGGED, and ROBUST.
Every year, shoveling and snow-blowing sidewalks and driveways within a 4-5 house radius, creating a snow fort by the corner of the fence for me to play in, cross country skiing, snowshoeing; always breathing in the air like it gave him a new life and freedom that the heat subdued.
A Season for Giving….
His traditions of making pickles, fudge, cheesecake, and what he called Piffaneers, which I believe to be similar to Pepernoten, a Dutch holiday treat. Making some for us but mostly to give away. To put in boxes and gift to others. Then his beautiful custom of choosing one less fortunate family, from his own exploration, to give a gift box of food and money to; hoping to bring light and warmth to some of those less fortunate than us. Choosing to pay it forward; giving some of his small fortune to others.
It is the simple kindness, the generosity, the consideration for others that I hold in my soul from him. I find comfort in the memories, my heart fills with sadness too. It yearns for a time that once was, for these sentiments that are growing more scarce. I yearn to see him once more, if only to thank him for these admirable examples he set for me!
As the snow falls and the season grows darker and colder, I am warmed and comforted by the memories of his simple deeds of compassion, and I hold them dear. In a world too full of materialism, advertising, greed, and suffering; I attempt to keep his traditions alive. To remember others, to give from the heart, and leave my children with a meaning of Christmas that stands true to the belief: “What comes from the heart will endure.”
Love and Seasons Blessings from my heart to yours,