I look out over the lake and it is frozen over. The world is white with a blanket of snow. With this picturesque scene outside my bedroom window, I wait in joyful anticipation. I see the trees, the snow falling all around. I see the world stretching beyond my window. Love and happiness surround me. Like a child waiting for Santa Claus, the morning drags on. Time seems to have slowed to a near stop. The clock on the bedside table ticks slowly. The lake beckons me, calling me out of my warm bed. I smile and stretch lazily. Finally, I untangle myself from the comforter. The lake is waiting.
Cold wraps me in its arms as I step out the door with my skates slung over my shoulder. I’ve missed the lake. I look out over my childhood home. A sense of joy fills the air as each step brings me closer to my destination. I can almost hear the lake whispering, “Welcome back”. I smile as I reach the edge of the ice. It takes only seconds for me to get my skates on. The wind rushes to meet me as I glide across the lake. Freedom. As the cold bites at my skin, I spin and twirl, like the trees in the wind. Skating takes me away as I daydream and stare as the town Christmas tree comes into sight. I see the star at the top. I throw my arms up to the sky, spinning around till the world is nothing but a white blur. I keep these moments with me always. As I stop spinning, I find my bearings and begin to slowly head back to the warmth of home.
Laughter echoes across the field as I approach the homestead. I never understood it as child. No child ever could. My mother and her sisters would fill the house with talk and laughter. It was a type of therapy, an outlet for their frustrations, their energies. It was highly functional. I entered the kitchen, now joining in their passion. The smells of Christmas wafted through the house, drawing the men out of their beds. Before long, the laughter had become riotous as the men and women in my family bonded over stories of new and old and reminisced about those who were no longer here.
This is Christmas. It’s in the snow, in the lake and ice, in the shared memories. Through the smiles, the laughter and the tears, a sense of belonging and contentment washes over me. And I am home once again.