my winter retreat was lonely flurries turned into storms dark skies seemed always cold bit me every second ice through my veins stiffened from life sharpen gales to cut me away I was polar from everything sitting barren until her voice her light all that warmth from beyond chiselled me free of that void capsule I am her sun she is my days
When I was a young boy, my grandmother would always tell me that I was bound for something great. Glimpses of me behind a desk somewhere with a pen and paper. No more substance than that. Just that nothing else would fit what mould she had envisioned for me. She would tell me this with a smile and pride in her voice. It would instantly make me smile too. But, for years I wondered what that meant. Now, as a published poet and six years deep into my blog, Earth to Ash, amongst creating every single chance I get, this is what she had seen. This is what she knew was coming for me. A future with writing. Sharing my thoughts, feelings, and emotion to the world around me. Like I have said from the start. I don’t consider myself to be a great writer, but I am enjoying the journey of someday becoming one. And when I reach that goal, it will forever be because of Theresa Douglas. Nan/Mom, if only you could read those words you seeded inside this soul of mine that writes to connect forever with yours and the world can take a peek too. – Ash
Ah, the ruined Christmas gift. No better way to sabotage your own built-up magic spirit of the holidays than tampering with the biggest most wanted item on your list. I was about six or seven when I began to get to the bottom of this Santa break-and-enter gimmick. As each year went on, the more cognizant I became of the sneaking around my mother, grandmother, and aunt were doing during the weeks leading up. My senses became Santa sharp. I remember starting to spot cover-up Christmas things my family was doing to paint the most perfect backdrop to a wonderful holiday to come. Welcomed, only I was on to them. I became keener on hearing Christmas code conversations that filled the cookie-baking nights of my grandmother’s kitchen. I knew, but the cookies were too delicious. And, one day, which turned out to be the beginning of the end of my belief in a man called Santa, was when I found peace a la resistance. I found the Holy Grail of childhood Christmas holiday wonder. I found the notorious and infamous gift hiding place. Yup, with all those skills I had acquired, and with all the determination of a kid destined to ruin the only magical wonder he would experience in his life, I went ahead and spoiled my very own Christmas with one too many tears in the gift-wrapping.
Screw the cab, it’s nice out, and I’m walking. Ah, the Christmas Eve Night walk home. This memory is further to the first snowfall entry I posted a few days ago in terms of the atmosphere it creates. A single awesome holiday mini-tradition that we tend to forget about. You don’t realize how Christmassy it is until you’re there in the moment. If you ask me, there’s no better backdrop to a beautiful Christmas then ending it with a brisk cool clean air walk home. Alone, or with a special loved one. Either way, it creates a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. You’re Christmas so far has been nothing but food, drinks, music, friends, and your loving family. Annnnd, the best part. Well, the best part was Santa still had to swing by the old house to drop off the gifts. Score. Oh, and turkey tomorrow…oh my God, Mmmmm, nan’s turkey!!!
Yes, I remember those nights when I close my eyes. How the stars always had the right amount of glow to them. Enough to guide you home. I loved how the streets had just fallen snow that sparkled in the light and covered the whole roadway. The only imperfection was a single set of tire tracks that belonged to that one taxi that was still making runs. I can still see those super big snowflakes as they fell sideways against the shine of the streetlight as I passed the last stretch toward home. By that time all I could think of was how comfy my bed was going to be.
Those chilled-to-the-bone but warm-to-the-heart walks home are still very vivid in my memory. No matter if it’s twenty years ago or just last year, I love a good stroll on Christmas Eve Night. Because in the end, there’s snow place like home and I’m going to jingle all the way.
Every picture tells a story or is a key to one. – Ash
Whenever I see a pile of wood by the side of the road or in someone’s front yard, it instantly takes me back to when I was kid. I believe I was around ten years old. Back that humbling day when I tried to prove to my Uncles that I was just as big and tough as they were. A coming of age moment of my life with a Shade of Ash humour that I will never forget. A bunch of wood grouped together sets the scene and some of you already know this, but I grew up with my grandparents, so my Uncles are like my brothers. There’s five of them. I made six, and the youngest in that dynamic and because of that, I was considered “Mommy’s Boy”. *I called my grandmother, Mom, by the way.
OK, Cue the wavey time-travel lines, fade to the 80’s.
Firewood was a primary source of heat for us growing up, so from time to time, that meant the whole family would have to pitch in and help bring freshly cut wood from my grandfather’s boat up to the front yard to be packed and stacked. Every now and again, my grandfather accompanied by two or three of the Uncles would travel by boat to some remote area to cut down the wood. Then, once they had a load, they would return home where the wood still had to be sawed up and stored away. None of that process involved me though. I got off the hook for stuff like that. Hey! It’s not me, my grandmother just wouldn’t have it back then. She’d look at my Uncles, each of them, and tell them to go on outside and not bother me. “Leave Ashley alone, he’s alright, go on, your fathers waiting.” She’d say. This rotted my uncles of course. Now, they wouldn’t say much in retort and just went on to work. Though like prisoners knowing all the blind spots of a prison yard, they too knew when to get in a few licks and wrestling moves behind my grandparents backs to make sure I knew what’s up. Until that one day, where I had enough of it.
I tried again today as I have tried so many times since the last heartstring that bound us severed. For a split-second, I got to hear your voice. For a split-second, I thought you would listen to mine. It was the longest pause yet…trust me, I know.
So, Ashton, I guess it’s another “Happy Birthday” sent off into the universe with all my love. Maybe it will find the world I’ve lost and help return it to me.