Reverence of the Flurry; Published in LAKESTYLE magazine, Winter 2004-05 Issue

Anniu, api, siqoq, upsik, kimoaqtruk, salumaroaq, and natagonaq. For the Inuits (native peoples of the Canadian Arctic and Greenland), they are words to describe a glorious awareness, a powerful personal relationship and an acceptance of the splendid variation of Life. To most of us, it is simply known as snow. And it will remain so, until we find ourselves within the

Reverence of the Flurry

The seasons turn as they always do and the falling leaves are quickly blanketed by the season’s new falling snow. It drifts and blows across our window panes and doorway just as it has done each year before. It’s an all-too-familiar sight. The earth becomes a mantel of white and we are quickly tempted to view the same snow-covered vista just as we have in each previous year. In fact, the only winters we may tend to remember are those containing the most powerful snowstorms or those containing the gentlest dustings of snow, excluding the grandeur and mystery of all the remaining snowfalls that made up our yearly winter season.

As a child, a puddle was meant to be splashed in. As an adult, it is now something to be avoided. For children, snow was simply for playing and throwing. For adults, its sole purpose is for shoveling and removing. The same puddle, same snow, same person (only years apart) and yet two very different perspectives. Where did that child of yesteryear go and when did our perspective change? Where is that child that longed for a record snowfall so that school could be cancelled? Where is that child who vividly remembered winter seasons not by snowfalls but by the quality, weight and texture of snow that was used for sledding, snowball fights, forts and snowman-building? Where is that child that took the time to catch snowflakes on their tongue and observe a single snowflake melt on their glove? It was in the flurry of these snowfalls and snowy days that child saw the beauty, the uniqueness, and the reverence of the moment. They were moments that left your toes and fingers numb and your heart warm. Sunny or cloudy, there was always something magical and reverent about each time you played in the snow; different from every other day and every other year.

You are not that much different from the snow that circles gracefully around your yard, down the hill and across the lake. Snowflakes and crystals are made up of nothing more than ice and water, affected by winters’ winds and temperatures. So to your life is formed in the same manner and same substance as this ice and water; fashioned by your tears of joy and sadness, the sweat of your labor and enjoyment over the years. The seasons come and the seasons go as they always will; your season is now and soon enough your season will melt away as well, leaving others to speak of the most powerful snowstorms and gentlest dustings of your life. What is it that will be remembered?

It has been commonly said that “one snowflake won’t add up to much, but put 100 billion of them together and you’ll have quite the snowstorm.” With the advent of another winter season, so it can also be said of your individual life. One given day of one given year can never provide the world with the full flavor of your life. As well, one given tragedy or success cannot fully define you as a person. Your life, like the snow sitting outside your window, is a grand collection of single moments and memories and of solitary decisions and directions culminating into the collective life you possess. At times, these moments and memories have been collected with breathing room to spare and other times, it has been a flurry of quick decisions and direction changes – a montage of different qualities, weights and textures. If you are like most individuals, you probably have lived this past year in a frenzied pace while attempting to balance all of your multiple responsibilities and commitments… stopping briefly on a New Year’s Eve to simply revisit only greatest and the least “snowfalls” of your past year. But there is so much more to your vista.

So before your New Year’s resolutions are quickly made and put away for another year, I invite you to escape with me for a moment to get caught up in the reverence of the flurry; to reflect upon and appreciate the significance of the single moments and memories of your past year. Stop to look back on your calendar, date book, notes, scrapbook, or PDA to remember what events – great and small - occurred within each week and month. At first glance, many of these events may seem unintentional, happenchance, accidental, isolated and unrelated – similar to snowflakes as they fall lazily from the sky. An ordinary dinner here, a familiar conversation there, a new friend met here, an old friend reacquainted there…

But as the snowflakes collect and gather on the ground, so has your year unfolded in a glorious and somewhat mysterious tapestry, weaving your unavoidable past with your unpredictable future – gracefully and collectively covering the landscape of your life this year. So take a moment to discover a few simple responses to each of these questions:

• Who are the persons that have been especially helpful to and supportive of you this year?
• Whom have you recently met in the past 12 months that has had an impact on your life?
• What have been the most traumatic events for you this past year?
• What have been the most powerful and uplifting events for you this past year?
• What have been your greatest struggles and strengths this past year?
• What is one thing that you have learned about yourself this year, with regards to these persons, struggles, strengths and events?
• What is/are the reoccurring theme(s) that Life is trying to tell you from the above six questions?

It is in these answers and this reflection, where the grand uniqueness of your life resides and where your child is still making snow angels.

True enough, the seasons will change, but perhaps from this season you will grasp a fresh perspective that allows your child to splash in fresh spring puddles, climb majestic summer trees, jump into crisp mounds of fall leaves, and once again roll in the glorious powder of a new winter... caught up in the flurry of reverence for that which is unique from any other year and from any other person.

 
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