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Reflections in the pool of Christmases Past


Crystal J. Stranaghan

What is it exactly that makes Christmas so special? Spending time with family and friends? Special treats made only once a year? Decorations? Carols? The smell of gingerbread? Nuts and Bolts? all of that. But how important each of these ingredients is to everyone is different from person to person.

To me, Christmas is a feeling that happens not in my heart, but in my soul.

There is a special kind of magic in the reflection of coloured lights in the long strands of silver tinsel that hang from a Christmas tree. Lying flat on your back on the carpet looking up through the satiny rainbows of colour that softly sway and blow in the breeze from the furnace vents, you see the world through different eyes. Stolen hours alone in a dark empty house, lit only by the twinkling of lights on icicles with “Take a walk through Bethlehem” repeating on the stereo. For whatever reason, it is an activity that never fails to make the hair on the back of my neck stand up and bring on shivers and a sense of giddy joy.

When I was younger, I had a bedroom up on the third floor of the house. Grandma and Grandpa Stranaghan gave me a record player – one of the big wooden ones that was actually a large piece of furniture – and we set it in front of the gabled window at the front of my room that looked out at the property.

I loved sitting in the dark on top of the record player with the pillows from my bed at my back, wrapped in the brightly coloured striped blanket my great-grandma knit for me. With all the house lights turned out, I could watch the soft, thick chunks of snow falling into the patch of light made by the streetlight outside my window. I would sit there quietly for hours, watching the perfection of the pure, untrodden snow build up as it blanketed the world outside my window.

I would put my palm flat on the window to feel the icy coldness of the glass, and watch my breath make clouds on the pane. I loved the quietness, the expectant hush of a world buried under a white blanket. In the snow everything is muffled, and somehow gentler – all the sharp edges of the night sounds sanded off. Deep into the heart of the night I would sit there, just watching and listening and thinking...some nights I fell asleep there, peaceful and calm, and would wake when my face eventually came to rest on the icy cold window.

Last night I sat in the window of a friend's apartment watching chunks of fluffy white snow fall through the glow of the streetlight and slowly cover the imperfections of a grey city. Yesterday was Saturday November 25, 2006, but deep down in the bones of my soul, it was Christmas.

© 2006 by Crystal J. Stranaghan

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