Delighting in Winter

Sue and I left for my sister’s place in Ottawa Friday afternoon, before the storm came through last weekend. Two of my brothers were planning to join us but decided to cancel because of weather conditions. My mom was also planning to come to Ottawa for my 60th birthday, while remembering our dad’s birthday as well, but her ride fell through and she wisely stayed home. We arrived Friday evening without any complications or delay. Even though the temperatures dropped, my brother in law and I decided to skate the Rideau Canal Saturday morning. A slight breeze made it very cold, accounting for few people on the ice. We managed to skate the entire 7.8 kilometers with a “beaver tail” as our reward. A beaver tail is a delicious warm piece of dough, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar all over it. I remember growing up with pictures drawn by Anton Pieck, of Dutch people skating the canals all over Holland during the winter. I heard stories of the legendary Elfstadentocht, (the eleven-city skating competition), held when the canals in Holland freeze over. I’ve been told when that happens, the entire country shuts down to watch. Little wonder the Dutch seem to do so well with speed skating during the Winter Olympics. Gliding on the Rideau Canal in the middle of the winter has a way of filling my soul. My sister and a friend invited me for a second opportunity Saturday evening. The storm had arrived. It was dark with falling snow. This time, we were the only ones on the ice. There were plenty of city lights to illuminate the path and it even felt warmer than the morning, but the experience was just as fulfilling. Backwards and forwards and zigzagging, along with a sixty-year-old, sixty-yard dash thrown in between, made the experience exhilarating. Sunday morning, we shoveled the drive way, cleaned off the cars and made it to church. In Ottawa, they call this winter. That afternoon my nephews and nieces invited me back out on the rink, only this time the wind picked up and it was very cold. We made it to the half way point, where they served beaver tales and found ourselves graciously rewarded with a place to warm up, eat our snack and make our way back. I must have skated over 30 kilometers of ice over the weekend. By Monday morning the storm had passed, but the temperature read -27. My car needed jumper cables just to get started. We returned home in heated seats, with two sore knees, hearts overflowing with gratitude and souls that were refreshed.                                                                            Pastor Sid

Karin Terpstra