I have mixed feelings about winter -- on the one hand, it turns the world into a giant frosted pastry, and the way the trees look after a night of freezing rain is gorgeous; everything turns to glass.

On the other hand, the older I get the less tolerant to the cold I become. Layers upon layers just to go get milk 5 minutes away. Shovelling off the driveway sucks, too. I recall winters in Quebec, our father would shovel out the back yard and take the hose to it. Overnight it became our very own backyard ice rink. I remember snow sculptures and the bonnehomme du neige - the snowman mascot of Ottawa's winter Carnivale.

Seeing ice sculptures, a pure joy. Rolling a snowball while walking home and finding that it became a boulder! Making angels and snow palaces. Drinking hot cocoa & the eternal runny nose. Cheeks flush & ears rosy pink and clouds pluming from our open breathless mouths. The wet feeling of a scarf from hot breath and sweat from exertion. Mittens and earmuffs and snowpants making a swoosh swoosh sound. Wet socks and snow-full hair.

Catching snowflakes on our tongues and in our hands Marvelling at the miracle of each myriad pattern and feeling a little ache as they melted away. The secrets of their patterns known only to us and only for that split second. Enjoying the Christmas mass, back before we were taught to fear God. The baby Jesus with glassy eyes staring at me from the altar. I could only stare back. The chorus of everyone singing, and meaning it. Simpler times. These hymns would make my throat scratchy with the threat of tears.

I remember someone once told me that talking to them was courting sadness -- it made me laugh a little, because I warn people to be wary of the same thing with me. Oh, angst! Our little sorrows and injustices should be piled in a basket and strewn before our paths like rose petals. Poor little paupers, orphans with pleading eyes, the single tear that makes some people sneer, some people ache. We are loved because we understand - we breathe - sorrow.

We become confessors and keepers of secrets. We are like these harvesters of truths, people feel it is necessary to tell us everything as it comes to them. I don't know why. I don't know. Generally I keep things to myself. There are very few people that I confide in, because so few have the time, or even care for that matter. I believe there are very few people in a person's life that they can be one hundred percent true to - I think we all have those people that are joined, link by link, at the soul level.

Circles of friends surrounded by more and more; water ripples. Overlapping. The heartbeat of existence is shared by us all -- if someone close to us falters, see how many circles it can effect. I think this is the nature of the inexplicable sorrow that overcomes us all at one point or another in our lives. Something to think about.

I often wonder if I am the only one who thinks on these things. But then I realize how preposterous that is; surely there are others.

I would like to paint happier pictures than the ones I have created here at some point or another. But again, the truth is I am tired of those kind of stories, I have to tell them to people who demand happiness. I tire of mending everyone else's tattered knickers of sadness. My own are threadbare. But it is unfair to dump them at someone else's front porch and expect them to hold them up to the light and see and perhaps add a patch here and there. Not fair. All I can do is offer the same for them in return.