Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Winter's Day

 A few days to Christmas and the Ottawa Valley is a snowy winter wonderland. A storm moved up from the U.S. Thursday night and dumped 42 centimetres on the city with more swirling down this morning. Over 125,000 homes in Quebec are without power this morning but we've been lucky so far. I remember having to cook a turkey on the barbeque one Christmas day when a storm took out our power in the 1980s. We still got together that afternoon with friends and had a cosy candlelit dinner.

I've been writing away on the manuscript and just past 46,000 words now. The minimum for an adult novel is 50,000 words, but I'm aiming for 80-90,000. I find the beginning usually comes easily and the middle takes a long time. The last 30,000 words are like the downhill part of a race, sometimes the easiest part. I actually had to cut out 20,000 words or so when I finished Cold Mourning, so I'm getting more wordy with practice.

I'll be writing off and on today between shopping for food, baking cookies and tourtiere. Gingerbread cake and pumpkin pie are also on the baking agenda for this weekend. My daughters along with pup George will be arriving Christmas Eve. We'll have a houseful for Christmas supper as well.

Traditions are an important part of the holidays although they evolve. For instance, I used to make a raspberry/cranberry fruit punch for Christmas morning but now we have mimosas. We still open our stockings before Ted makes a bacon and egg breakfast and then we open gifts from under the tree. The turkey goes into the oven soon afterward and lazy afternoon ensues with a fire in the grate. It's a time to slow down our lives and to enjoy what is really important - the peace of a winter day, the warmth of family and friends.

Well, it's time to head out into the snowy morning to do some food shopping, and then, home to putter around the kitchen with some Christmas carols playing. Already, I feel the joy of the season and hope that you are feeling it as well. I wish each of you peace this Christmas and time together with those people you cherish.

I'll leave you with a few mood-invoking lines from the poem "Late November" by Archibald Lampman (1888).

The hills grow wintry white, and bleak winds moan
About the naked uplands. I alone
Am neither sad, nor shelterless, nor gray,
Wrapped round with thought, content to watch and dream.

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