Sunday, December 4, 2011
My Weekend Escape
the bare, dead Christmas fields.
I'm not sure what kind of mood it was exactly that drove me to so stubbornly pack my overnight bag and leave the city with my friend Linds the last weekend before final exams. There were many signs that I should have stayed- S had bought me a ticket ages ago to a Midway State concert with her and K, and since they knew the band it would have meant a crazy after party and fun times for sure. D wanted me to switch shifts with her at the cafe, and besides having a sculpture due on Tuesday and a paper on Wednesday, there was the usual chores of cleaning, buying Christmas presents, getting the laundry done, completing a painting, and starting prep for a massive party at my place next week.
But I had never been met Linds' family before, and I knew that they lived in a huge place (160 acres) 2 1/2 hours North of the city, and Linds' was one of my closest friends, and really the only reason why I survived Rome for the month of August last summer.
So I went up with her on Friday, and I am so incredibly glad that I did. We caught the bus to St. Albert, and then her mom picked us up in a big white truck, along with thousands of dollars worth of groceries for the ski hill that they her family managed in the winter.
This whole weekend was a blur of people coming and going, visiting and bringing Christmas baking, of drinking eggnog with rum and mulled wine and Caesers and martini's and eating, oh my, so much eating all day and night long, constantly trying these delicious foods and then having seconds at dinner, and Saturday morning Linds and I bundled up and went for a long hike through some trails in the snow, and then Saturday afternoon we decorated the Christmas tree for 5 hours with whoever was around at the time helping out. The tree was 13 feet tall, the biggest I've seen, and so beautiful. One night we ran through the snow in our swimsuits to the Finnish sauna on the other side of the tree line, and poured water on the rocks to create steam and got the heat up to 90 degrees Celcius, and then rolled in the snow screaming, the sweat and the melting snow on our bodies creating a burning sensation.
We were so far in the middle of the wild, that apparently they often saw moose, and of course deer and black bears, and once they had a cougar around, and a few months ago a wolf pack stopped by.
It was so Christmas-y, all white fields with golden stubble poking through, and broken down fences and haunted old barns, and heavy skies, and one morning it dumped snow for a couple of hours, and there were ravens eating a deserted pile of grain. Unmistakably Albertan, with white and red pipes sticking 20 feet into the air with big constant flames coming out of the top indicating the presence of oil. Such a decadent weekend, so loving and laughing and beautiful, and for the first time in about 5 years, I am actually beginning to anticipate Christmas and enjoy just the cheer and good will in the air.