Twinkling Words

Rounding the corner of the driveway in the early darkness of an Alberta winter morning, my headlights swept across the undergrowth catching the sparkle of thick hoarfrost.  In that moment, all I wanted to do was back up grab the camera and try to capture the magical twinkling on video.  Reason reigned, and I continued my drive to work partially out of a keen realization that trying to video the sparkles while I drove would probably end in some kind of automotive-tree entanglement that would be costly.  But the image stayed in my mind all day and I tried to convey its magic to a co-worker by relating what I had seen to one of those Christmas cards that have a serious sprinkling of glitter.

My colleague understood that image so I'm hoping that you will also be able to imagine the scene which will prevent me from fulfilling that urge to try to capture it on video for you.  Dark, cold, and frosty - the tires squeaking across the snow.  Rounding the corner, bordered on two sides by the prickly branches of dormant Alberta rose bushes, the white bark of the birch trees curling like ribbons on a present, and the big old pine trees in the background. Every single surface catching the moving beams of light and twinkling. It was one of those moments of beauty that reinforces my love for the swake.

I thought the driveway experience was the grand finale on a spectacular week that held the healing words of many.  It was a week where I seemed to be the recipient of an inordinate amount of encouragement and sideline cheering.

Our family doctor who is retiring after forty years of serving, having shephered me through the challenging years of raising children said "mum you did a great job".  She was the champion who told me twenty years ago to "trust yourself, you know what's best for them".  Her common sense and her ability to bestow words of encouragement was more powerful than any other force in helping me and it was a gift that I was honoured to receive.

Friends and colleagues shared words in response to my requests for advice and insight.  Some of their gems were pointed, "how are your actions feeding this situation", "ask yourself what you need to learn from this", "you probably intimidate the hell out of...".  And I valued those words, reflecting on them.  Other words were softer, nurturing my soul and sense of self "you are gentle", "you are confident", "you have an ability to make others comfortable".  So I spent a lot of time in self reflection to reconcile all of this, and you have to admit reconciling intimidation and gentleness takes some mental gymnastics.  It requires an understanding of others perceptions and a sensitivity to respond to them in their need.   I marvelled at the power of words to make me think and the ability of others to bring wisdom through their words.

Then I went to the mailbox last night and I received a letter that I have been waiting nearly thirty years for.  It's pretty dark in the country at night, so I had to wait to read the letter until we were at the gas station.  The letter contained an apology from someone I love deeply, and as I read the request for forgiveness and restoration, I wept with Kanti in the back seat nuzzling my hair, and Greg being a good husband - filling the gas tank.  At Christmas I posted some lines about forgiveness and renewal, and my words came back to me through the letter reaching across the mountains and thirty years of brokenness and I was blessed.

This morning I woke up again to tears, tears of joy, no pun intended!  Through those tears I wondered how to bring the week alive, how to use my words here to capture the power of the words we choose to use, and it seemed that the only way was through the telling of the story.  Now, comes what they call in sales the 'ask' - if you read regularly and enjoy the words of Life by the Swake consider signing up on the blog as a follower or member, whatever it is they call it.  That way we could enter into a dialogue on a weekly basis and you could let me know whether all these words are going into the ether or whether they touch your spirit and inspire you.



  1. I love to read your words, they inspire me every week!I look forward to seeing you again soon.


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