News  Notes from Alley


Wednesday, December 24 ~ Nostalgia complete with chilly hands and rosy cheeks



Allison Crowe - in Winter

I took a walk today in the snow-covered, perfectly-icicled and
delicately-lit, neighbourhood where I have spent most of, and indeed the
very first, Christmases of my life. I have officially traveled back in

The winter walks are best in the evening when the sky is a purplish blue
and everything is completely silent except for the music with a hop to
dancing in my ears. This is life, slowed down.

If nothing else, (for all you bah-hum-buggers out there), the end of the
year is a time when, hopefully, you can find a minute for solace and
reflection. If you're snowed in, you may have no choice. (Hopefully,
too, you enjoy the company of whomever you're snowed in with. otherwise,
it's "Shining" time.)

The rest of the year life seems to carry on in a hectic and harried
pace, and it's painfully easy to lose yourself to it. The weather, the
delays, the nasty roads, the barricades and the seemingly unmanageable
stress seem to me right now like Mother Nature having a laugh. "See
folks? You can do a lot, sure. You have your planes your trains and your
automobiles, but I have control of the weather. Slow the eff down."

(Some of the roads out here are dangerous, btw, I agree with nature,
slow the eff down and be careful on 'em. Your family and/or friends love
you even though they may eat your favorite chocolate out of the box.)

I've been the designated tree-decorator in my family's house since I was
about five. I still am. Seriously. When I'm not here, it doesn't happen.
She's pretty this year, and after some carefully plotted out lighting,
(after various unsuccessful attempts at sticking lights up his butt),
Santa sits gracefully on top of the tree.

It was going to be a star. I thought, you know, the '80s are back this
year, might as well use one of these old-school stars. Knowing full well
that the lights on said star would no longer work, I decided to head the
problem off at the pass. All new lights, arranged and shaded in such a
way that my five-year-old self would be proud. Then I plugged it in.
Then it blew up.

(...well, it was more of an instantaneous burning out type short of all
of the lights. For a moment though, I am pretty sure it was super
impressive. Enter Santa.)

Santa's sitting there right now, atop the tree, light in hand as a
lantern to help him navigate through the snowy nights and give all the
presents and horde all the cookies. We forgive him his hoover-like
cookie-love, the ol' lug.

There are knit stockings, decorations, too much food, too much drink,
music, stories shared (even about the stress of getting to and from the
GD malls. commiseration is underrated sometimes!), old friends seen and
hugged, and those lost remembered.

My grandpa loved SpongeBob. My grandad loved the ginger chocolates. My
grandma was into astrology. My uncle introduced me to "Dorf on Golf".

This Christmas I get to see one nephew get super-excited about
Christmas, and my other nephew have his first Christmas EVER!!

This winter, I get to see friends on both Canadian coasts
(weather-permitting) and embark on new adventures and look back at old
ones and smile. I got the chance to sing and play and meet new friends
and hear their stories and share some of mine. Chances are I will make
new friends in airports whenever I experience weather-delays. I'll have
to laugh when they lose my luggage.

There is nothing more beautiful than seeing humans come together in
times of stress and throwing up their hands and saying, you know what?
Life IS too short. Let's enjoy what we have while we have it 'cause in a
second it can change, whether for good or bad. Let's celebrate the
positive and negative from this year, and of the years past, and the
years to come. Everything is ever moving, always changing. Have a look
at what goes on around you, it's life, and it's what we're here to live.

Peace, Merry Christmas and happy winter, everybody.

Alley :)

Please send happy thoughts and wishes to my friend James who is still in
hospital healing, and whom we all love very much, and to his lovely wife




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