Do you see what I see? The peace and tranquility the snowfall brings, fields of white upon white. Our Indigenous land covered in a fresh quilt of Grandmother’s white woven yarn, soft and delicate, comforting, fascinating even. I feel like I am driving through a foreign land, floating in a post card, is this my home? Do I really live here? How lucky is this? Do you see what I see?
As I drive through the Cariboo streets I am in awe of the beauty of our quaint little city, especially at Christmastime. Coniferous trees wearing sweaters of snow, street lamps lit up with beautiful, glowing snowflakes and angels, illuminated reindeer prance atop buildings, brilliant outdoor Christmas trees high upon the skyline. Carved wooden cowboys grimacing with frosty, snow-white beards, Christmas-themed storefronts intensifying the beauty and uniqueness of the buildings’ murals… all now decorations of old familiarity… town classics that bound me back into my childhood, with new splashes of beautiful, modern art that will no doubt have the same affect of nostalgia on our own children one day. Do you see what I see?
Ladies and gentlemen in handcrafted mitts and toques as we try to shop local, and extra mitts and toques hung on trees and fence posts for anyone else who may need one. I see a youth hold the door open for an elder, I see a young man help his mother out of her car and safely lead her arm-in-arm off the icy sidewalk, across a vibrant rainbow crosswalk, the snow resembling a puffy cloud on top of it, and into the bank next door; meanwhile all four vehicles waving each other through at the four-way stop “No, no, you go ahead first;” Canadian eh? I see students shovelling the driveways of unsuspecting citizens and said citizens in tears, insisting on repaying the kindness, the students then joyfully sharing homemade cookies when they return to class. I see little ones building snowmen in the school fields, merrily catching snowflakes on their tongues, giggling as they get in trouble from the noon hour supervisor for throwing snowballs at one another…I hold on to the semblance of normalcy it brings them…that it brings me too. I see a lady hand a less fortunate man a coffee outside the local 7-11 to warm his hands as he nods “Merry Christmas Ma’am” …Do you see what I see?
I head home, making the ever-anxious trek up Dog Creek Road…I see a car stuck in the ditch, and I see a passerby pulling over, making sure help is on the way, offering the warmth and shelter of their own vehicle as help arrives. I see two older fellows shake hands, maybe too old-fashioned for the modern-day elbow bump; a nod of thanks as the car is hoisted back onto the road and pointed due north. Christmas lights guide me home now, keeping me company with each watchful, colourful bulb of light, seemingly smiling and winking as I pass. Do you see what I see?
I make it home safely; someone has shovelled my driveway I notice, heart doubly touched as I observe the neighbourhood deer making way with the rest of Halloween’s pumpkins, the last remaining colour of fall, gobbled up gleefully by doe and fawn, nothing left now but a gleaming acre of white snow with the slightest patch of orange; oddly resembling the poached egg I had for breakfast this morning…maybe I’ll make these for Christmas this year. I head inside to happy pups; the decorations slowly being brought upstairs; they remember that Santa spoils them too; they have sure been good dogs again this year, after all. Do you see what I see?
I go online. Do you see what I see? I see our community stepping up. Ingenuity. Finding new ways to help. New ways to collect donations. Donations for the food bank. Donations of blankets for our vulnerable. Donations of toys. Donations for our animal shelters. Donating to the new covid-friendly, take-out style Christmas Dinner Out The Door we all sadly thought would have to be cancelled, but the Christmas season is upon us and we are determined to make it happen. I see businesses struggling with a lack of sales, yet they delve into the spirit of Christmas and give what they can. People plotting and planning and scheming how to surprise struggling families with Christmas gifts this one-of-a-kind, most difficult year, even though it has no doubt been difficult for them too.
I see people rejoicing in the small triumphs of finding new avenues through technology, through distancing, to safely continue helping one another. A tear slides down my cheek, as gently as the snowflakes sliding down my windshield on my enlightening drive through the downtown core. Through unfamiliar times, helping each other remains familiar. Christmas always brings us together, we in the Cariboo. If only for a moment; fleeting…let us savour it. I choose to see the Spirit of Christmas through the chaos and turmoil of the current world. Do you see what I see?
Cassidy Porter was the runner up in our Spirit of Christmas writing contest in the 19 and older age group. Winners were published in the Tribune’s annual Season’s Greetings holiday edition, released on Dec. 18.