Sunday, December 30, 2007

Been sledding lately?

Sunday afternoon.........the last one of 2007.
Where I'm sitting, I can see my neighbour's grandchildren sledding on their hill across the street from me. The kids, all around age 5, have made a fast groove in the snow, wide enough to slide belly down on their crazy carpets. Up and down.......stopping on the way up sometimes to sink into the snow to scoop up a mitt full for a frosty taste. They arent feeling the cold at all, partially because they are bundled up in their gear from head to toe, but mostly because they are focused on the fun. The Dad with them, standing and cheering them along?? His shoulders are scrunched up to ward off the cold, his hands are swallowed up by his sleeves and he keeps stomping his feet. He's ready to go inside for something hot to drink. And Grandma? Well, she's the bright one........standing in her big bay window watching from the inside, waving and smiling at her visiting little ones whenever they check to see if she's watching.
I remember spending hours doing the same thing just down the street from the house I grew up in, never growing tired of the rush of freedom. We'd build jumps out of the snow to tackle as fast as we could zoom our sleds over, and have races to see who could get down the hill the fastest and who could go the farthest.

On special days, normally after a good snowstorm, my Dad would fill the car with neighbourhood kids and take us to the nearest golf course where the hills were much higher and more daring. Back then, we had a metal toboggan, big enough for 3 or 4 of us to fit on, with a long red plaid cushion attached to it for a little comfort. The front of it was curved up like a candy cane, perfect for deflecting and ploughing through the snow and just right for the brave front end person to stick her clumpy booted feet.

There was a technique to sitting on that toboggan with your friends. Once it was situated properly for downhill delight, the brave frontrunner would get on first, sticking her feet into the curved space, and holding onto the rope attached to the front of the toboggan that was used to pull the darn thing back up the hill. Then the second person would slide in behind with her legs tucked alongside and hugging around the first person's body....... arms in a bear hug to hold on tight. The third and fourth followed suit. As soon as everyone was ready, my Dad would give us a heave ho................... and off we'd go...............



Sometimes we'd all manage to stay onboard...............sometimes one or two would tumble off into the safe soft snow............ until the toboggan would come to a slow stop.

stop.......................... then we'd all breathe again............laughing and recounting the ride.

I don't know if they still make those big heavy metal slides. Given how we do our very best to avoid all danger at all costs, to protect our children from anything that sniffs of risk, to try to place them in bubble wrap, I doubt it.

After a good long while, we'd all tumble back into the car, our doubled up woolen mitts covered in tiny snowballs, the bottoms of our sweaters that managed to escape the tuck into the snowpant encrusted in ice.........our feet feeling the cold finally......and our rosy cheeked faces feeling the burn of the heat in the car........we'd head home to hand warming, inside warming hot chocolate and snacks to recharge our energy. An afternoon of tobogganing guaranteed sound sleeping that night.

Sunday afternoons............ my favourite time of the week, especially in the wintertime when there's something savoury in the oven, and relaxation permeates. Music fills the background with sounds of violins, or fiddles, or guitars...........melodic melodies paced the same as my own. Today however, as I found myself at the grocery store stocking up for New Years and beyond, filling the cupboards before the next storm arrives tomorrow, I had a grumbling feeling about how long this winter is feeling already. I was hit with the dread that it will be a long time before we see any signs of life again............nature's life.

It made me feel heavy in my longing to push time ahead, as I carried the groceries into the house and put them away. But, then I heard the excitement of my son as he pulled on his snow gear again to hit the hills. Then I heard the uplifting warm music on the radio. Then I looked out the window and saw joy sliding down on their bellies.

And I remembered what it takes to ward off the deep chill Canadian cold. Sometimes, you just gotta bundle up and focus on the fun.............


Rainbow dreams said...

we have a toboggan my uncle made - a proper one just like you describe.. shame we never have any snow to enjoy it..
also reminds me of how children never feel the cold when they are focused on their activity... when do we lose that???
friends of ours just sorted tickets to Canada - am sooooooo jealous... :)

Hope the storm isn't too bad, hugs and love all the way from me here, xx

kenju said...

You make sledding sound like so much fun, but my memories of it are less so. I have always hated the cold and to stand out in it for hours never appealed to me, unless I was a teen and there were boys involved.....LOL

Michele sent me tonight.

Charles LeBlanc said...

Hey? How come you never made the list on the most popular blogger in New Brunswick???

Leave your vote at Spinks blog!!!

It's a horse race!!!

Bonne Heureuse Annee!!!

Disillusioned said...

Hey, I'm on my way over, with my girls... I remember toboggoning as a young child, but we just don't seem to get that amount of snow here in England now - or not where I live, anyway - and where I live is just too darn flat anyway!

Awareness said...

Hey Katie. As of right now, the storm hasn't started but I think its going to mess up New Years plans around here.
Where are your friends flying to in Canada?

Judy....oh, I remember the teenager sledding fun too....had forgotten. We used to ski all day, go in for dinner, and then meet back on the slopes to toboggan for hours. Cold never made it into the equation, interestingly.

hey Charles. Bonne Heureuse Annee a vous aussi. Guess what? I have an oral french test on Thursday and I am complete psyched out about it! I havent had a full conversation en francais since 1984!! Mon Dieu. We should've been conversing in your mother tongue throughout the year whenever we met for one of our random je pense qu'il y a en retard....

Did I write that properly? I have a WRITTEN test in a week!!

I wasn't nominated for the NB Blogger award on Spinks site?? It may have to do with the fact that it's a political blogging award.....and I havent been able to write political stuff in a while.... as much as I would like to ..... :)

No, my postings are too touchy feely for NB political blogging awards.

Now if there was a touchy feely award category, well then I'd win hands down. NO QUESTION! Or should I say........PAS de QUESTIONS......

Caroline.....I swear we have had more snow this year already than we have had in years.....especially this early. It's definately a real Canadian winter like I remember as a kid. Lots of hills to slide down around here....and always room on the toboggan.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

That brought back such memories for me....There was a street begind our gouse that was a BIG Hill...and that is where we would go Sleigh Riding...My Lord that wa a very long time ago....I don't think I did that past 11 years old---if that...LOL, so it was about 64 or 65 years ago.....! But all the descriptive things you wrote about the cold and the mittens, and the rosy cheeks, etc....Well, yes, that is how it was for us, too!

I wanted to tell you that I still have not seen WAITRESS all the way through yet...The two times I have tried to watch it---I have fallen asleep! Not because it is bad...But because I get very relaxed watching and then....the next thing you know....It is long over! Maybe today, I will try again, though I have much to do to get ready for my little New Years do....!
And speaking of New Years....A VERY VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR RO YOU & YOURS! May 2008 be the Best Year Ever, for you and for all those you hold dear.

paris parfait said...

How much fun! Nothing beats the exhiliration of being a child and getting to participate in such fun activities. Wonderful photos too.