Published: December 21, 2016
BY JENNIFER PARSONS
Tuesday mornings in the winter are hard for me. After work on Monday nights I head to Ear Falls and get home around 9 pm, often just in time to get a couple hours more of work in before the clock strikes midnight. With a few hours sleep my alarm goes and I am headed to the arena at an ungodly hour, trying to be chipper for my morning crew when all I want to do is yell, “whose bright idea was this?” The question is rhetorical because it was my bright idea. An hour and a half later I am seen sprinting out of the building to avoid being late for work.
A couple Tuesdays ago we had a snow day. Buses were cancelled, freezing rain blanketed the region, and I received many early morning cancellations. I pushed myself out of bed anyway and made the slow trek to Cochenour, you know just in case. For the first time all season I found myself on an empty ice surface.
There is a sound that the ice entrance door makes when it opens. It’s a thud that echoes around the enormous open space. I hear anticipation and adrenaline when the kids open it up for each of our sessions.
The sound it makes when the place is all but empty, indescribable.
For 45 minutes I had a blank piece of ice and country music blasting. I didn’t have to tell anyone to point their toe or keep their left side strong. I skated through the dance set just because and I spent an extra moment lying on the ice after a turn sequence went unexpectedly wrong. I love coaching and teaching but that morning I remembered why I loved skating.
I read recently a post on self-care urging us to recharge and relax “body and mind amidst the chaos of the holiday season.” The message – find the time to replenish the spirit in order to “offer genuine presence to yourself in every moment.” It’s amazing what you can find in an empty building at 7 a.m.
We are on the countdown to the holidays – the youth of our community are marking the sleeps until Santa Claus makes an appearance. Parents are counting down to when the Elf on the Shelf goes back into hiding. Businesses are pushing the number of shopping days left and, well, us here at the NSN are counting down the production hours to get our last edition for the year off to the press.
On Dec. 22 we are closing up shop here for the holidays. The boss has given us some time off. Many would spend that time playing Martha Stewart in an effort to get the holiday gifts perfectly wrapped, completing the miniature snow village and preparing treats for unexpected, yet welcome, visitors. That’s really not me. I look stress and schedules dead in the eye all year long so when the holidays hit I am the anti-Martha.
This year I will be spending my time trying to convince my husband to forgo his snowmachine “just this once” to tackle the nearest sliding hill with me and any kids we pick up along the way. I have plans to help out some friends in bringing holiday cheer to their customers. I may even join my husband in wrapping presents at midnight on Christmas Eve (instead of mocking him which is a much favoured holiday tradition on my part). I could even set the alarm early on the 25th in order to get a few peaceful moments before the family fun time begins.
Because peace, joy and love isn’t just a holiday slogan.
Happy holidays from all of us to all of you.