Monday, January 1, 2018
When I lived in Asia the New Year tradition was to clean house. Top to bottom, every drawer, closet, nook and cranny. Out with the old to make room for the new. It’s a tradition that leans toward the spiritual in nature, because you are symbolically sweeping old habits and bad luck out the door along with the dust bunnies, leaving a clean surface on which to welcome the New Year and all its possibilities. I still follow that tradition to some extent, getting rid of clothes I haven’t worn in a year and throwing out old broken and tired-out Christmas décor and even some unwanted pieces of furniture. It’s very therapeutic, this annual purge.
After taking down the Christmas tree, I like to move furniture around. This year I threw out the two old couches in the back room. Fergus was a bit distressed until he discovered the pillows had gone into his crate. They are perfectly wedged in there and he can’t get a grip to rip the heck out of them.
The Farmer is cleaning out his kitchen cupboards and drawers (his territory; I am forbidden to mess with his herbs and spices) to make room for his new cooking implements and gadgets. He too has the New Year’s urge to purge. I suspect the basement is next. I have warned the cats. All of their favourite perching spots are in jeopardy if they are atop items that we no longer need or can fix.
Another popular way to usher in a new year, particularly after all that holiday food and drink, is to launch an exercise program. Well my routine rarely extends beyond Pilates and yoga but since we are now hosting a student from Norway who was pretty much raised on cross-country skis, we decided to try and locate a pair for her so she can enjoy winter in the manner to which she is accustomed. The Farmer climbed up into the shed loft and pulled down a few dusty old pairs of skis and poles. My father-in-law also showed up with a couple more, and boots to match. They could have been left by one of his five offspring – now in their 50’s and 60’s…but we suspect he got them at a garage sale.
When we presented the many choices to Mina, she laughed. “I have only seen skis like that in a museum!” she said. Clearly they wouldn’t do. Her parents had her very own pair of ski boots shipped to her from home. A week later a brand new pair of Fischer skis (not to be confused with Fisher skis…) arrived on our doorstep. Then, as if it had been waiting, the snow arrived. In copious amounts.
On Boxing Day, the sun rose high and shone down warm on a thick blanket of new snow. Encouraged, I trudged out to the shed and pulled on a pair of boots. They fit perfectly over two pairs of socks. Next I dropped a pair of skis onto the snow in front of me and slid the boot into place. I pressed down on the fastener with my pole. Click. They fit. No excuses now. I set off across the barnyard, sinking about six inches below the snow. The dog ran ahead of me and blazed a trail. It was hard work, and the most exercise I have had in months, but it was worth it. With no wind to deter me, I was thoroughly enjoying my trek.
At first I thought it was a whim of my own until I heard a swishing behind me. And a bit of panting. There was the Farmer, over-dressed in his farm gear, trying to catch up.
We had about 50 metres of romantic skiing together through the first section of our forest before my husband gave up on his skis, which kept popping off because they did not fit his boots. He will need an adjustment before he heads out again because walking back to the house was far more difficult than skiing out. And by adjustment I meant his ski equipment but it might also apply to his spine at this point.
Mina caught up and passed us, dressed in her streamlined ski gear and flashing lime green skis. She now has almost 200 acres to enjoy, with Fergus at her side. If we can figure out how to strap a toboggan to his butt he may also be put to good use blazing a trail through the freshly fallen snow.
Happy New Year, everyone.
Posted by Diana Leeson Fisher at 1:45 PM