Thursday, December 22, 2011

Paddling On Christmas Day?

Stark, still, and serene in Algonquin at the end of November. 
Captivating for sure, but not the kind of scenery to
get you into that festive mood.

As I drove to work this morning, I couldn't help myself from thinking about another canoe trip. Here I was in the middle of December, with no trace of snow anywhere and my car displaying 4C outside. Last week one day, we even hit a high of 14C! This is December, isn't it? I even did an oil change on my car this past weekend, something I've never done at this time of year. The forecast for the rest of the week shows highs above zero with no sign of any snow. It looks like it's definitely not going to be a white Christmas this year. 

Oh yeah, Christmas is coming too. Maybe it's the lack of snow, or the fact that I have so many other things on my mind. In any case, I can't say I'm in the Christmas mood,...yet. Sure, the Christmas tunes are playing and the Christmas decorations are out, but I feel like being somewhere else. Like lost somewhere deep in the wilderness, paddling along shore with big fat snowflakes falling all around me. Yeah, now that sounds about right. Even on my last trip at the end of November, I was hoping to take a canoe-Christmas themed picture to share on the blog. Of course I needed some of that white stuff to provide the proper backdrop, but no luck there as well. If it was a tad bit colder, I would have gotten my wish, but since it decided to stay just one degree above zero, I ended the trip soaking wet instead - sigh.

Even the removal of my roof  racks is a glum occasion. It's about coming
to facts that canoeing is finished for the season.
Photo: Lisa Riverin-Thomas

I've never been a big fan of Christmas, at least in the commercialization of it. The mad rush of shoppers, crowds, trying to find parking, and searching for gifts as elusive as spotting a Canadian lynx. Why we subject ourselves to all this madness, I will never know. We say its all about giving, but sometime I'm more inclined to think its all about getting. In this day and age, most of us have what we truly need - a roof over our heads, food at the table, a job and family/friends. What more could anyone want? Sometimes I think we lose sight of the most important things we should be thankful for at this time of year. If there should be any giving at Christmas, in my opinion, it should be to those that don't have these basic things, which including myself, quite often take for granted.

Despite my little rant, Christmas is still a great time of year. It often brings out the best in people, their generosity and kindness. What I do love most about Christmas is families spending time together. As much as we think everyone does a lot of this throughout the year, I'm pretty certain not enough time is actually spent doing this. We all have 365 days in a year to do all kinds of things for ourselves, but how many of those days do we all make a concerted effort to be together. Christmas is one of those times, and that part alone is worth waiting another 364 days for. The long term forecast shows Christmas day to have above zero temperatures and most likely no snow. I know I would rather be out paddling somewhere, but it's Christmas, and time to be well spent with family. I'm sure I can forget thinking about paddling for one day!

I was grateful to have witnessed and captured this scene on a trip a few
years ago. However, this is how I would imagine what
 paddling on Christmas day should be like!

 Wishing you all, paddlers or not, the happiest of holidays!
Merry Christmas!

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