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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?
Yes...to 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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