I sit in my car in the parking lot of my favourite city park, waiting for a text from my dog groomer letting me know I can pick up the pups. It’s a gray day. Cold, but not frigid. Snowy. It’s the first time I’ve been out of the house in days and I’m struck by the size of piles of snow in yards and by the side of the road. I’m reminded of my childhood in Saskatchewan in the same way I was when I heard the squeaky crunch of snow under my feet when I took the dogs out in the backyard earlier.
It’s quiet. Bare-branched trees line the mostly empty walking path. The river looks mostly frozen, though I wouldn’t trust the thickness of the ice. Decades ago, Gerry and I took an afternoon walk through this very park and came upon a group of people who had cleared the snow from the ice and were playing hockey. Quintessential Canadiana.
A man walks by wearing gloves and a parka with the hood up. He’s one of the brave ones. Gerry went snowshoeing earlier with a group of other hardy souls. He’s also a brave one. A strong and healthy one too, at age seventy-four. Me, I’m content to stay inside in the winter. I like to stay warm and there’s more than enough to occupy me in the sanctuary of my home. But now, it’s nice to be here, away from home but in a different sanctuary. A double sanctuary in a park that calls me to return again and again and the relative warmth of my car.
I scribble words in my Moleskine for the prescribed 20 minutes I’m challenged with writing every day this month for Story Circle Network’s 20 Minutes a Day Challenge. In reality, I write for more than twenty minutes most days, but this structure where I’m accountable to writing partners is a good way to kick off the year. When I’m finished writing, I look out over the white landscape and breathe deep. Sweet peace in the middle of the day. Priceless.