Monday, December 29, 2008


It was a clear, crisp evening. The sun had just set, and the wind had dropped, and the night air was calling for us to go out.

It was a few days before Christmas so we toured the neighbourhood, boots crunching in the snow, and checked out the Christmas lights on people's houses. We held hands, we skipped, we sang "Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer" at the tops of our lungs and laughed at how loud it sounded. We stopped and chatted with a neighbour shovelling his driveway, and another, heading out on a night-time cross-country ski session. We made odd-shaped dents in snowbanks by sitting on them.

When we turned the last corner before our street, we were looking into the deep indigo of the western sky. Venus and Jupiter were blazing diamonds surrounded by a dusting of stars. We stopped and looked for a moment. It was magical. We talked about stars and planets, and the differences between them.

Leah: Which one is Jupiter and which one is Venus?

Me: The higher, brighter one is Venus. The one lower and to the right is Jupiter. We can't see Jupiter very often from Earth without a telescope.

Leah: How do you know those are planets and not stars?

Me: The planets are bigger and brighter, because they're closer. And they don't twinkle like stars do.

Leah: Venus is so beautiful.

Me: Isn't it.

Rachel: Venus creeps me out.

Me: Why???

Rachel: Because it rhymes with penis.

Me: . . .

I wonder if Emily Dickinson's mum ever had days like that.


  1. Now that I've picked my jaw up off the floor, I don't even know what to say.

    I can't wait to get our families together again. Can you imagine the things Rachel and Ellie could come up with?

  2. See, and if that was before Christmas, I'd be suggesting that it was Père Noël doing his reconnaissance.

    The first Christmas it was just me, and the kids were with me, I dragged them around on a sled. One of them had a high fever, so I thought the air would do them good. There was fresh fallen snow and everything twinkled. I told them magic was in the air.

    Thanks for triggering that buried memory.

  3. Hahaha!

    Please tell Rachel that, after having three boys, Venus no longer creeps me out. Then tell her that if she lets on that planets reminding her of the opposite sex bother her, karma will ensure her at least one little boy part to change (or maybe three...)

    Hope you had a great Christmas. Happy almost new year, too!

  4. You made me laugh out loud startling the others in the room.

  5. hahaha...

    Well it's good the words that rhyme with penis freak her out. Let's hope it stays that way until she's 40. ;)

  6. Anonymous8:32 AM

    Just when you were edging into a Rockwellian moment....