(Bautista, Personal Photograph, 1-1-15)
While standing by the window this afternoon, I witnessed winter’s first snowfall as well as basked in the first day of 2015.
As you look at snow falling from the sky, it is quite an amazing movement to behold. And when it covers the landscape, like an ivory blanket dampening harsh city noises – it’s quite the sense-filled moment to experience.
But for some reason, I often tell people I don’t enjoy snow.
When I was around 5 years old, I remember tobogganing with my family in the park near my house. I was wearing one of those one piece snowsuits, the ones you have to lie down to get into – it was bright blue with red stripes across the front. My brother was dressed more fashionably – some patterned slacks, a pea coat and a news boy cap.
Our sled was silver aluminum with blue wood sectioning off the seating areas. A yellow rope made for the reigns we’d use to steer our way down what I thought to be Mount Everest.
My parents watched whilst my mother’s sisters enjoyed one of their first winters in Canada. Between snowball exchanges, they looked over and laughed at the joy their nephews were having.
On one particular run, we made it a long way down the hill and a bit farther from where my parents and aunts were positioned.
I remember coming to a halt and laughing non-stop until my brother said that it was time to go. We got off the sled, turned it over to clear the snow and headed towards our family.
He was walking up ahead of me and I was a few steps behind. The puffy snowsuit wasn’t doing anything for my speed but I did what I could to keep up.
As we made our way towards our family, an elderly lady was walking towards us. She was wearing dark sunglasses and a mid-length fur coat. A scarf was wrapped around her head, her hands were in her coat pockets.
Her face seemed pleasant.
She passed my brother and would within seconds be passing me.
Before our encounter, I remember feeling an overwhelming sensation pass through me on that sunny winter’s day.
As she passed, she took out her right hand and clawed my face.
The memory blurs and distorts from this point on – I was crying, my parents came running, my aunts were screaming. Flash to my father and my brother shouting at the lady and throwing snow at her – my mom grabbing snow to cover the scratches on my face – my aunts screeching with fear.
And then we were in the house, in the bathroom – my mom placing ointment on my wounds, my aunts holding me – I could hear my father on the phone shouting desperately to the police who did nothing. My brother at the door watching sadly.
Then flash to today and that’s all I remember. No one has ever talked about it.
I don’t hate that lady – I don’t know her. You have to know people to hate them – if you don’t, and you choose to hate, you’re wasting energy. In fact, even if you know someone and you hate them, you’re wasteful.
All hate is wasted energy.
I forgive her though. I offered a sliver of unconditional kindness and it wasn’t reciprocated – something happened to her that created loathing and despair that needed venting – I now realize that what I offered wasn’t enough to help her.
I still feel an overwhelming sensation pass through me from time to time – intuition or instinct or self-awareness, I don’t know. It usually happens when I am placed near people with ill intentions.
My reactions differ in these moments depending on how intuitive I am and how quick I perceive one’s true intent.
As I’ve aged, I’ved learned to seek solace before rage. I’ve learned that people really don’t know what they are doing when they operate under the guise of ego. And that by retaliating with plots and schemes, I, too, am ego bound.
Regardless, underneath it all resides forgiveness. I spend my energy looking for it until it is discovered.
I’ve been thinking about snowy days, my childhood and forgiveness lately.
Silence, innocence and sustenance, I suppose.
I don’t know why simple kindness doesn’t quell all ills.
I do know that forgiveness helps dampen the noise of harsh sounds especially ones that echo the past.
Let it snow indeed.