HEART KINDLING

Little things that feed the flame

Writing Challenge: A Day in Verbal Snapshots

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It so happened, that I bought a new cell phone on Monday. My first smart phone. I have resisted the silent pressure until now. However, now that I have a phone that can do this and that and the other, the weekly challenge – announced on the very same Monday – is, of course, to put it away. To feel the world with all of our senses, to live, and to capture the moments with words, rather than camera. Luckily, I enjoy taking mental images, storing sights, sounds, smells, and emotions on paper. I sort of already started this without prompting, as you might remember.

So, here goes, one day in verbal snapshots. (I actually managed to take a few real ones in the evening, with camera, as you might have seen in this post.)

***

Saturday morning. After a few long days at work, I was hoping to have a bit of a lie in. But that is not to be. My daughter decides to get up early. Which means out of bed and into the kitchen to make breakfast. After Henry returns from work, we get the Christmas decorations down from the attic. The little one is obviously excited and in our way, nearly making me trip over her with the box full of tinsel and baubles in my hands. One after the other the boxes are carried down. My mug of tea is getting cold and I would like to get back to it, now that the scene is set for the long and fun process of decorating. However, it is proving very difficult, with one small but very eager person jumping from one box to the next, trying to open them all, pull the contents out. Christmas decorations, Christmas decorations, – she keeps joyfully pointing at the boxes, jumping around, pulling me by the hand. Tinsel is out in the open now, but there is yet no Christmas tree to put it on. This is nearly too much for a two-and-a-half-year-old to bear, so I suggest she puts her finds on the coffee table. In no time, there is a carefull arrangement of red and green tinsel, with little hills and valleys, where baubles sit neatly and fabric birds nest. We have a whole world of Christmas on our coffee table and a very happy creator looking over it. SNAP.

The afternoon turns out to be bright and sunny. We need to get a few things in the shop. I offer to take my daughter in the buggy, but she assures me she will walk. There is no way to persuade her otherwise. Of we go, hand in hand, across our little town on the sunny day. As we walk by the green,there are piles of dry autumn leaves, blown to the side of the path by the naughty wind. (For a moment, I imagine him having a ball here the day before.) There is so many of them. Too many for the little one to resist. She runs into the dry brown leaves, making them playfully rustle under her boots. Grabs heaps of them with her hands and throws them into the air. Leaves! – she squeals with delight. – Leaves! Leaves! The innocence of childhood sparkles in her eyes. The rays of sun sliding off her rosy cheeks, I find it hard to believe we are actually starting the Christmas season. SNAP.

As the day starts to fade, we leave the house again. We follow the music towards the festivities. Christmas carols bounce in the air, white capes of the market tents are lit up and visible from a distance. The market is only starting, but everyone seems happy to be there, buzzing with anticipation. The stall displays are colourful, stallholders hopeful and cheerful, exhaling tiny clouds into the crisp evening air. My little girl runs around in circles with no fear to get lost. I have to watch carefully as she carelessly dives among the people. But she is so happy! I get some free mulled wine. We buy fresh handmade chocolate cakes in the shape of a Christmas tree and savour them right there in the market square, tucking away the other two to bring home to daddy. There is a small Christmas tree in the middle of the market. I ask my girl to go and stand by it so I can take her picture. She nods and runs towards it (of course, when you are not even three, you have to run everywhere – where’s the fun in walking?). On her way, she finds a bright red rubbish bin. Apparently, this seems to her more picture-worthy than the Christmas tree. She stands next to it and looks at me, waiting for me to do my job. I can’t help but laugh out loud. SNAP.

It does not even take an hour to get dark. Children’s choir is singing Christmas carols by the church. We cannot get close enough to see them. People keep flocking to the church grounds for the lights ceremony. As the countdown begins, I take her into my arms and lift her as high as I can. Somewhere at around four I find myself surprised by the fact that I am actually welling up. In that short span of time from nine to one, I keep pointing towards the direction of the tree, telling her it will soon light up, while at the same time having a flashback to the last year when she was so small that she started crying spooked by a crowd of people counting loudly in the dark and we had to go home. I think of what a big difference a year makes, how this is the first Chrsitmas she will actually understand something, how I want to make it special and… how incredibly happy I am. All this in the countdown from nine to one! SNAP.

The town is flooded with light. Everything looks so much warmer. And merrier. The two of us head home and wake daddy up for the next installment of night shift. As the dinner is made and we sit down to eat, there is lots of excitement (as well as some cakes) to share and not-entirely-comprehensible stories to be told by the happy two-and-a-half-year-old. Life is good, you know.

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