It’s Friday 24 December. This morning, I was fully prepared with a big scarf, a hat, gloves and snow boots, but yet it was freezing cold. It didn’t keep me from going outside. Yes, I had to go to work, but it’s just beautiful, everywhere. In the city, the parks and the woods. It’s a winter wonderland with snow on roofs, on trees, on bridges over canals, on church towers and even snow-covered cars finally found a way to fit in these old characteristic city scenes.
The only thing that you shouldn’t fit into these winter days, is work. Enjoying the snow means that you should not try to get to work by train, bus, car, or let alone, by bike. You shouldn’t be in a hurry for work, a meeting, a train, a flight, or even a theatre show. Streets, pavements, motor ways, rail tracks, runways - basically all means that normally help you moving, are now causing a major and country wide standstill.
Nonetheless, I’ve never enjoyed the incredible delayed and long journey home by train from a meeting in another city more than this afternoon. I left a city covered by snow and filled with a Christmassy feeling, and the landscape changed to snow-covered forests and plains with little villages in sight.
For the fourth time, the train stopped in the so-called ‘middle of nowhere’. Normally, such occasions annoy me terribly. It makes me feel out of control, it puts me under pressure time wise or I start waiting for the message why it’s taking so long. This afternoon, I was watching outside, saw birds fly, was amazed by how much snow trees can handle and was just generally relaxed by seeing this beautiful white wonderland.
Even though I had my work very close by on my Blackberry, but my mind and thoughts couldn’t be further away. Why hurry so often? Why stress so often about day-to-day annoyances? Why worry so often about what a colleague did or didn’t say, did or didn’t do? Why is my mind so often occupied that I miss seeing what my eyes are looking at?
Today on the train, I didn’t stress. My mind went blank. I was just moved by the beautiful scenery, the silence in the compartment and the fact that by the time I would be home it would be Christmas Eve.
Why don’t I enjoy moments like these more often? Why do I need Christmas to reflect on the life I’m so used to? Why can I be so moved by this beautiful natural wonder that snow is, and how beautiful and clean it our country makes?
Of course, I don’t like all what snow does. I hate the icy streets. I don’t like needing to place every footstep very carefully so that I don’t fall. I don’t like waiting on a cold platform, waiting for a (delayed) train or bus to take me home or to work.
But I do also notice that it does do something to unknown people, to colleagues, to me.
Last week, people who were unknown to me drove me home, as our train didn’t run. This week, colleagues didn’t mind that a meeting was rescheduled for the 4th time because I couldn’t make it. And me, I realised how great it is to become aware of the world around me, be it the view from the office on the woods, a filled platform, or the city with a Charles Dickens feel.
Once I take the time to reflect, to really see what I’m looking at, to hear what colleagues are really saying and to enjoy little moments for myself, I could be a happier and more relaxed girl. Suddenly, sitting on a delayed train makes quality time, I hear my colleagues giving me a compliment, I can see the seasons change from the office, and I can enjoy a nice dinner or evening stroll through the city centre with friends.
And with those thoughts on Christmas Eve 2010, I wish you all a lovely Christmas.