Thursday, December 22, 2016

One Xmas Night

Walking down to Toko Nadia this night, wrapped in a rare swirl of wind, I happened to find myself swept away by an Oregon winter, a Christmas night. It had been snowing for some days and the snow was still coming down, dancing rather than falling, billowing like bedsheets, breathing in and then roaring forth like a gang of excited, unruly children, spilling into the yards and along the icy curbing strips and up against the houses and the huddling gables all bedecked with twinkling lights which shuddered to stay warm in the night's icy grip, the very air so cold that it seemed about to shatter and fling all the world in abbreviated pieces to same caprice that ruled the swirling flakes of snow. My son was 12, I think. I must have been 30-something, and I had had too much to drink that night. We took our walk, as we always did. We never missed our evening walk. He walked slowly, always the careful one, clutching trees wherever possible. The whiskey and I skated and spun and tumbled in the glimmering ice where tire tracks had packed down the snow during the day. I was laughing. It was Christmas. I was warm inside and falling felt good. And I was as padded as a fat bear in my two coats and gloves and wool scarf and stocking hat, and as white as a polar bear after my first couple rolls in the clinging snow. Everything was quiet, no traffic was moving, the falling snow whispered a long, great, fluent, urgent, endless secret in our frost stung ears. Behold, I bring you glad tidings of great joy. Those are secrets that you only hear at such times as these. Those are the whispers you remember forever.

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