Family: Enjoying this year’s postcard-perfect winter

Treena Mielke

COVID is still here complete with all the spinoffs each and everyone of us are forced to deal with each and every day.

It is not easy, but then much of life is not easy, so it is not a big surprise, really.

And, even with COVID marching in with its nasty virus that has complete power to render us so very sick that we may never recover, there is, as always, sparks of sunshine that insist on poking through the veil of pandemic darkness.

For myself, there have been lots of those little sparks of sunshine that continue to brighten my way as I travel through the COVID-19 journey.

There are, of course, the grandchildren. Mind you, there has been no overnight visits, no jumping on the bed, eating too many cookies and staying up late wild and crazy good times at grandma’s house.

But there has been walks in the woods, quiet and serene and perfect with the snow crunching underneath borrowed winter boots on a path through tall Evergreens, silent statues against the azure winter skies.

The quote, “You never know an Evergreen is an Evergreen until the winter,” pops into my mind as we trudge along.

But then my companions, walking with no electronic devices to distract them, begin to chat. And I completely engage in their conversation, finding their boyish wisdom incredibly amazing, heartwarming and most satisfying to the grandmother soul that lives within me.

And during the walk I learn that the path less traveled makes for the best adventure. I also learn that a drone received as a Christmas gift now rests on somebody’s roof never to be seen again. And finally, I learn that going up a slippery slope is much easier and safer when everyone holds hands.

Despite the pandemic, we are experiencing the kind of winter we Albertans hear about, but seldom enjoy. I mean, really, why do we all turn into snowbirds, anyway? Of course, we want to fly away from the snowstorms and the sub-zero temperatures. We want to tune out the guy on the radio that tells us our skin will freeze in about 10 seconds if we dare stick any bare part of it outside.

But this year the weather has been just about picture postcard perfect.

With that in mind, I have cross country skied, snow shoed and the other day I went skating with a friend.

We decided to skate on the lake because, the town, in its benevolence has created not one, but several outdoor skating rinks.

My friend mentioned on the way down to the lake that he had not been on skates for several years. “It will be fine,” I said. “You’ll love it. It will be fun.”

Inside I was quaking, but I did not tell him that I was actually a chicken. A long time ago I was a brave and fearless skater, who had very little common sense. One afternoon, I was enjoying a solitary skate far out on the ice and then, without a moment’s warning, I hit a crack with the pick of my figure skates and my brave and fearless self ended up crawling back to my car with a broken wrist.

But if you fall off a horse you get back on and if you fall on your skates you put ‘em back on.


So, I have done that, but with great trepidation and much less bravery than I used to possess and hopefully a little more common sense.

Anyway, we, being seniors, got our skates on which was a feat in itself. Then we had to actually get to the rink from the car.

And, as we slipped and slid our way to the rink, I started laughing. And I couldn’t stop. The laughing was good, but it did not help my balance or his, for that matter, and so, finally, we held each other up as we most carefully made our way to the edge of the skating rink.

And then we skated. He skated faster, but still, we skated.

And just like I said, it was fun. The ice was, well, it was very icy and there were huge cracks in it, but we stuck together and skated carefully and slowly. Especially me.

And as we skated, I saw, in my mind’s eye this perfect winter scene. It was like a kind of magic, really. There were the skaters and the lights and, crystal clear in the winter air, there was the laughter.

That was the best. The laughter. It truly is the best medicine.

Treena Mielke is a central Alberta writer. She lives in Sylvan Lake with her family.

Just Posted

Firefighters and emergency services workers helped celebrate Barry Young’s 85th birthday at Timberstone Mews on May 29. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Firefighters in central Alberta make birthdays special

A fire truck arriving outside your house is not normally good news.… Continue reading

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Red Deer drops to 71 active cases of COVID-19

Province adds 127 new cases of the virus

Crimson Villas, a seniors housing facility in Red Deer has finally opened its doors. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Red Deer senior housing facility opens its doors

Crimson Villas, named after Red Deer’s official flower, has officially bloomed. The… Continue reading

The Town of Ponoka, who has typically leased the main stampede grounds to the Ponoka Stampede and Exhibition Association, is transferring the land to the association. (Photo by Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)
AB Gov’t to provide more grants for live event organizers

Live events will be getting a boost from the provincial government over… Continue reading

Alberta government committed $7 million last year for an integrated shelter service to help Red Deer's homeless population. (Photo by Advocate staff)
City of Red Deer finds only one viable location for emergency shelter

City of Red Deer administration is recommending the Cannery Row Emergency Shelter… Continue reading

A large number of supporters were out Saturday at a rally intended to bring awareness about including Hinduism in the grade 2 portion of the K-6 draft curriculum. As it stands now, Hinduism won’t be taught until grade 6 in the proposed draft curriculum. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Video: Rally to support adding Hinduism to draft curriculum draws crowd in Red Deer

The Hindu community in Red Deer came out in droves on Saturday… Continue reading

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Germany's Robin Gosens, left, celebrates Germany's Mats Hummels after scoring his side's fourth goal during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group F match between Portugal and Germany at the football arena stadium in Munich, Saturday, June 19, 2021. (Matthias Hangst/Pool Photo via AP)
Germany clicks at Euro 2020 with 4-2 win over Portugal

MUNICH (AP) — Germany finally clicked into gear at the European Championship,… Continue reading

Fans cheer on their team during the pre-game warmup of Game 3 of the NHL Stanley Cup semifinal with the Montreal Canadiens facing the Vegas Golden Knights, in Montreal, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
COVID-19 concerns give way to Habs Fever in Quebec as Montreal continues playoff run

MONTREAL — The sun hadn’t yet risen in Montreal on Friday morning… Continue reading

Coronavirus cases are on the rise from India to South Africa and Mexico, in a May 19, 2020 story. (Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
As Brazil tops 500,000 deaths, protests against president

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Anti-government protesters took to the streets in… Continue reading

A black bear cub forages for food along a salmon stream below a bear viewing spot for tourists in the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area in Juneau, Alaska.  (File photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Bandit responsible for vehicle break-ins is a black bear

THORNTON, N.H. (AP) — Surveillance video helped police get to the bottom… Continue reading

FILE - In this April 25, 2019 file photo, Editor Rick Hutzell, center, gives a speech to his staff including Chase Cook, Nicki Catterlin, Rachael Pacella, Selene San Felice and Danielle Ohl at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Md. The editor of the Capital Gazette, which won a special Pulitzer Prize citation for its coverage and courage in the face of a massacre in its newsroom, is leaving the Maryland newspaper. Hutzell, who worked at the Annapolis paper for more than three decades, authored a farewell column that was published on the paper's website Saturday, June 19, 2021. (Ulysses Muoz/The Baltimore Sun via AP)
Editor of paper that endured newsroom shooting says goodbye

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — The editor of the Capital Gazette, which won… Continue reading

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II look on, during day five of of the Royal Ascot horserace meeting, at Ascot Racecourse, in Ascot, England, Saturday June 19, 2021. (David Davies/PA via AP)
Queen beams as she returns to Ascot after COVID-19 hiatus

LONDON (AP) — Queen Elizabeth II was smiling broadly as she attended… Continue reading

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20 per cent of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, data suggests

TORONTO — Canada has hit two of the vaccination targets government officials… Continue reading

Most Read