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  • Monique Sliedrecht

Second Christmas Day


On this second day of Christmastide, where the sky is grey and the light flat, and my head a little fuzzy, it seems the kind of day to get out and clear the cobwebs. Sisters, brothers and families have gone and my parents and I decided to go for a gentle walk this evening, filling our lungs with the damp air, making our way to the canal nearby.


As kids we’d often hear the horn of ships passing through Lock 1. In those instances my brothers and I would run to my father and ask him to take us to look at the boat, which, if tall enough, could be seen from our back garden over the rooftops of houses. And we would go. The bridge would be up and the queues long as people patiently (or impatiently) waited in their cars to cross to the other side. We would stand by and watch the large ship forge it’s way through the channel carved out for it and wave to the people on board. I remember often wondering where these people were from, and what brought them here.


Now it’s mainly ships from Ontario passing through as things wind down for the season. Soon the canal will be emptied for winter maintenance.


Our walk brings us to the Lock and waterway where a ship has just passed by, it's lights reflecting on the lightly rippled surface. On our return to the house we step in the door more awake than before, but gradually nestle back into our chairs and books, cups of tea in hand.


On this second day of Christmastide I enjoy a leftover serving of turkey and feel a bit like that boat, making my way through the ‘in-between days’, gradually gearing up for what is ahead. It’s a day to pause and not do much of anything. From full house and happy chaos to contented stillness…. That seems about right for Boxing Day.


Happy Christmas Day 2!


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The canal tells you stories

The canal sings you songs

They hang in that space

Between memory and water

-Ian McMillan-

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