Monday, November 20, 2006

View from the Top of the Hill

Here we are: Monday of Thanksgiving Week. I've had this feeling today like I'm at the top of a toboggan hill. Have you ever ridden on a toboggan? My parents had one when I was a kid. It's a long flat piece of wood that curves up and around in the front with a pad on it. You ride it down a toboggan run - a wooden snow-filled "track" on a very steep hill.

When you put your toboggan on the run at the top of the hill and climb on there's this sensation you get (or at least I do) of an electric charge surging up and down your limbs. As you settle down onto the toboggan you feel the wood slip back and forth on the slick track. The front end begins to jut out over the steep drop. You grab hold of the ropes or cushion or nearest body, sweat soaking the inside of your mittens. Then there's that second where the front begins to drop forward and you see the whole hill laid out in front of you, bits of wooden track jutting out of the snow. The next thing you're plunging down at lightening speed, wind whipping your cheeks, your mouth gaping in a scream. Everything around you is a blur of white and green as you rush past pine trees. In no time you're at the bottom and everything begins to come in focus again as the deeper snow swishes around you, slowing the toboggan to a crawl and then a stop. When you stand up your legs are wobbly and your lungs are sucking in the frigid air.

That's how I feel today. We're at the top of the holiday toboggan run, peering over the edge before we plummet down into the rush and flurry of shopping lists and Christmas card lists and cookie baking. I can see it all clearly now, but come Thursday or Friday it's going to begin whipping by in a blur. And then by December 25th or 26th, or if you're on a higher hill, January 1st or 2nd, it will begin to come back into focus. So pull out your scarves and mittens, and slip on your snowpants and boots. Get ready to enjoy the ride!

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