My kind of Christmas

It was a Christmas weekend unlike any other, especially for me, as I typically don’t celebrate this holiday. However, this year was different, because I was invited to two Christmas dinners and – though both were thoroughly enjoyable and the food delectable – I was determined to ward off the extra pounds by walking them off. How best to do so? I headed for the hills…

On Saturday, I awoke to a sunny but chilly Christmas Day. It was also 23 months (to the day) since my accident. I went up to the mountain for a walk; James Taylor in tow.

Branches stretching out into the open spaces, their limbs half-covered by snow looked like spindly arms only partly draped in puffy sleeves, inexplicably exposed to the elements. A guy was wearing a red-fur trimmed santa hat. People were feeding the squirrels. The horse and buggy rides were working full-tilt.

Families were tobogganing down the newly- and neatly-groomed hill. Lithe and muscular bodies were speeding past on cross-country skies; one man being followed on the carved-out track by his little mutt that yelped and kicked up snow, but couldn’t quite keep up. Mini snowmen popped up here and there along the snow-packed path. Joggers and a few brave cyclists passed by.

Many people were wearing the latest and trendiest outerwear, which included a Siberian-style flap-hat; plucking me from the present, transporting me to Red Square and a crowd of brave (or crazy?) babushkas were doling out balls of ice cream in frost-worthy weather.

It was a familiar gait, even from a distance; and as we approached each other, I recognized the face immediately, and without a word, we nodded hello in each others’ direction. It was my therapist.

The lyrics of one of JT’s songs prompted me to stop and stare towards the sun. Standing at the edge of the skating area, I closed my eyes, positioned my body to face the warmth of the sun, and breathed deeply. I must have breathed in more than the fresh air and sounds of children pleading to get off the ice in favor of hot chocolate; all at once, and just for a few moments, I felt the warm embrace of a floating spirit; of harmony and peace.

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