And with no explanation, it is December 2nd and I am back in Montreal, on the brink of my first round of exams, the last round of exams like these, the last time I turn the page to December 1st and feel a deep sinking feeling. I hope! I am caught in new Quebecois snowflake clouds and the persistent warmth of good friends; I am occasionally staggered with challenges and roadblocks, but I am moving forward.
As this month leans down, tucks the elbows in, squints eyes and — whoosh — releases down a snowy hill, I am patient and will ride along. I do not feel overwhelmed or confined by the impending work that I’ve got, because for once, it’s leading somewhere. I have an idea of what I want! Where I want to be! and how I will get there. And so, instead of seeing the white billows above me and feeling my feet quickly melting away beneath me, I choose to be awed by the size of things here. Things are big here. I love feeling small, seeing something looming before me and forgetting myself entirely. Here we have beluga whales and fjords that I have seen, jagged cliffs and expansive lakes, black bears and moose that I imagine I see in the flickering between-the-pines glimpses from my bicycle.
So now, in the spirit of the big stuff, the tall stuff and the grandiose landscape that unfurls in either direction: I am here, I am climbing big rock-walls and feeling the confines drift away as soon as I stop imagining them.
I will spend December writing papers, taking exams, going to work, climbing, baking, reading, cooking, juice-making, hood-wearing, letter-writing knitting breathing remembering and so eventually, taking it easy. When these little things seem big, when I am blinded by papers and deadlines, I am grateful because I know what real size is. I know what sublime vastness looks like. I have seen sweeping landscapes and will never again mistake the small things for the forests, the hills, the cliffs the oceans that hold me with watery arms full of love, and leaves, and a deeper understanding and acceptance than I will ever get from tiny papers and exams and the garish distractions of school-life. When small things overwhelm me, I can laugh at their size compared to the Saguenay, to the Alps, to the Point of Chewonki Neck, to the soaring heights of the UWS.
Cheers to december! Big snow! I missed you, a little.