the skis pictured were, until very recently, with their original owner, my dad. when my grandmother gifted them to him years ago, none of us expected they would one day end up in a city on the Canadian Prairies. I had turned down my dad's offers to send them my way, citing practicality. then last year, I learned accepting his offer was more practical and that my heart deeply wanted it; new skis, while more expensive, also lacked any memories of shared skiing moments. nostalgia won out.
as a kid, my grandmother's collection "down cellar" of winter equipment seemed magical - an endless variety of aids for adventures on ice or snow - as long as you fit into the sizes available. my adventures on frozen shallow ponds were fun, but ice skating was never quite as special to me as cross country skiing, it lacked the togetherness. I stumbled into cross country skiing one day while visiting family; I was soon racing along with my cousin, savouring the ability to glide over the glittering snow.
the centre of skiing for me became adventures with my dad and grandmother. we would make a day of traversing snowy fields, trails, and forests. always classic. the arrival of these skis was bittersweet - one day skiing may offer togetherness once more, but our trio's skiing days are over. my grandmother wouldn't have wanted me to stop just because I miss her, she would have wanted me to continue skiing because there is love there; I love the activity and loved creating those memories with two special people. my grandmother left a legacy of togetherness, play, and love. though we don't know what our legacies will be, we must have courage to make our own marks.
a reflection of gratitude for a special visit out east at the only moment I could.
for many people in Canada, living in the time of COVID-19 has meant two months of not going to visit other people, staying home as much as possible, and staying two metres apart from others when out for necessities like a walk in nature or a trip for groceries. as someone who lives at least a thousand kilometres away from many friends and relatives, connecting through virtual means has become essential. however, those who live in the same region as their loved ones are being particularly challenged having to make such adjustments. since humans are social beings, chats over tea, exchanging hugs, and gathering in groups was difficult for us to give up despite how these sacrifices keep ourselves and others safe.
when I moved from Maine to New Brunswick for university in 2008, it was into a community - my move to Yellowknife in 2012 meant a much smaller circle of in-person connections. I was grateful to have Kevin's parents and friends, and friends I made in Yellowknife, but it was still a big change. being in Yellowknife was the farthest I had ever lived from my parents' homes. my university had only been a three hour drive away, but getting to Yellowknife meant a solid day of flying. this distance, and the permanent residency process from 2013-2016, complicated matters when events out east would come up; attending the event would mean arranging more than just getting time off work.