This morning, I felt the cold in my bones. We have been lucky for the most part this winter – while it has been colder than usual, it has been remarkably dry, a nice change from the expected (and therefore, albeit grudgingly accepted) monotonous rain and overcast skies.
Growing up in Vancouver you acclimatize pretty darn quickly to the damp. If you’re not careful enough, you may start to sprout mushrooms sometime around mid-March, due to the relentless onslaught of drizzle and murk.
Constant vigilance and a darn good umbrella are needed to combat this problem.
Well, that and a good pair of rain boots.
Remember folks, it’s the reason David Duchovny forced X-Files to move down to L.A. (And boy did that show ever go downhill after that.)
Anywho, this is the first Christmas in three years that M and I are sticking around town (at least for the big day) which is pretty darn exciting. The past two years we have been far and yonder – first in London and then in Halifax, respectively, where we not only enjoyed the fantastic seasonal flavour of these two brilliant cities (and the people who live there), but the always enjoyable stress overload of travelling on Christmas Eve.
Nothing makes giant masses of people, into giant masses of asses, er – I mean, as jolly as they can be, like overcrowded, delayed airlines can!
We are however doing our (small) share of travel this year, having been invited to go check out all the sights and sounds of balmy Palm Desert – my father and step-mom own a time share and live there for part of the year and this will mark the first time we have visited them in their fruit-treed, half-year-home.
I’ve never actually been to California, other than Disneyland when I was eleven years old, and I am not ashamed to say that the thought of twenty-seven degrees and sunny skies, tickles my little, frozen-solid heart silly, especially in the wake of today’s cold.
Yet on days like this, I also cannot help but be transported back to the streets of Edinburgh, where M and I walked and walked and walked and then walked some more in October of 2009.
The moment we exited Waverly Train Station, the skies opened up and just as the rains began to fall, a rainbow spread its way clear across the sky.
For the rest of the trip, the rain and wind whipped and lashed our bodies in earnest – every night as we fell asleep in our little hostel, tucked away off of the Royal Mile, I was so exhausted I could actually feel my heartbeat inside of my calf muscles.
We climbed to the very top of Arthur’s Seat, and then to other side of the Old Town, up to the national monument; we drunk ourselves silly doing our own version of a pub crawl, beginning at the famous Oxford Bar, the favourite haunt of the fictional Inspector Rebus, and his creator Ian Rankin. We day-travelled up to St. Andrews, where M ran across the sand à la Chariots of Fire, and took part in an underground tour of Mary King’s Close where we readily accepted “gardy loo!” into our everyday vocabulary.
(I am also still trying to figure out whether or not I could fashion a plague doctor Halloween costume if I put enough energy into it.)
I had never been to Scotland before, and yet I somehow felt as though the country was home. I knew for so long that I had some sort of innate connection to the land and the people, whether it was forged from spending time in Nova Scotia, or through my highland dancing, or my fascination with Celtic music and mythology – I’m not sure, but I always felt that I just needed to go.
And just being there, I felt very grounded and safe. Like it is a country where I could live a life with less anxiety and doubt – or at least feel as though I could lay down some serious roots.
We had such a brilliantly amazing visit and did in fact walk so much that I had to purchase new shoes – shoes that to this day remind me of the visit each time I put them on. (My old ones had developed a serious case of the heel-mouths and the water trickling down the cobble streets had begun to seriously trickle down my stocking feet.)
Even in the face of a bloody gale, I kept turning to M and saying to him, “Isn’t this the most enchanting city you have ever been too?”
I truly felt as though there is magic there, running through the air like an invisible current, transported along those fierce, fierce winds because it feels as though its blowing right through you, right through to the depths of your being, penetrating deep inside your soul.
But instead of cold, it warms you.
So on days like today, where I feel the dampness in my bones, I doesn’t bother me.
I think about my ancestors, and my travels, and I take comfort.
I take comfort in it all.