CODE COVID: What the pandemic has taught us about long-term care
SaltWire Selects: Stories you don't want to miss
What you need to know about COVID-19 today
Continuing coverage: Mass shooting in Nova Scotia
Business Tool Kit 2021
Have you heard about the SaltWire News app?
Daily forecasts and weather facts from Cindy Day
The Heroes of 2020
Sometimes, you see.
Not all the time. (That would be too easy.)
But sometimes, it’s as if everything magically lines up. And it’s a revelation.
I’m not really trying to be obtuse here — what I’m trying to say is that, day after day, we tend to work through our lives, moving through the small goals. Meeting the deadlines at work, checking the freezer for pork chops for dinner, unloading the dishwasher, toppling into bed with the hope of deep, solid sleep. And then, back out of bed the next morning to do it all again. It can be metronomic — even more so now, with the occasional hope of vacation travel scuppered by the pandemic. Weekdays fold into weekends into weekdays again.
And then, all at once, for some unknown reason, the everyday is exceptional.
Everything has to line up: you have to feel full in your body, with everything working as well as it can. Your stride long, your muscles flowing, aches and pains sidelined. Your head has to be clear — actually, your head has to be receptive.
Weekdays fold into weekends into weekdays again.
I got that Thursday afternoon. I feel like I should write it down on the calendar: Thursday, Feb. 18, 3:10 p.m.
I left in sun, for a walk. That sun, the bright white sun of midwinter, didn’t last. Big grey clouds were rolling down over the parkway from Mount Scio, and beneath them, a curtain, a rolling scrim of a snow shower was visible against the dark blue-green of the spruced hillside.
I realized you could watch the roils of snow moving clearly down into the valley before it finally caught me from behind.
At first, was that hard, round weird soft hail known as graupel. (Now that I know it has a fancy European-sounding name, I use it all the time. I love the way it feels when you say it out loud. Growing up, we used to just call it corn snow.)
Put my hood up, heard the patter of the pellets against the nylon of my hood.
This, I thought, this is quite all right. Out in front of me, the pellets were bouncing and bounding across the asphalt path, colliding with each other and forming an even layer exactly one pellet deep.
Then, just as the pellets began to pile into a second layer, they transitioned, seemingly in mid-air, into big combined, floating-down snowflakes, spar-broken and knit together along their edges.
Usually, I have a knapsack with rain gear. Not Thursday — just my winter jacket. So, I was wet, wind-battered and wonderful.
Because it was marvellous.
Snow would start, snow would stop. Shafts of sunlight would break out from behind the mounded cloud every now and then and back-light the grey, dressing the edges in a pale yellow trim, and then another squall of snow would descend — each time, starting with graupel.
No one else was out walking, it seemed, novel thoughts were shooting all around in my head, and all things seemed possible.
I could not see a way, just then, for anything to be better. And I remembered.
I remembered that I’ve felt like that before, and how much, how very much, I miss that feeling.
It can happen — even in the misery of a pandemic.
For me, it seems to happen less and less frequently. But, still.
I think one of the tragedies of growing older is that you realize those special days are fewer and further between — and, in some way, at the same time you realize they are finite, too.
Remember how uplifting this seemed at the beginning?
It still is.
Occasionally, there’s a gift right there in your hands.
And you see.
Russell Wangersky’s column appears in SaltWire newspapers and websites across Atlantic Canada. He can be reached at [email protected] — Twitter: @wangersky.