Thursday, November 26, 2009

Here and Now: Preparing for the season

You might think, having lived in the remote mountains a third of my life, I would be a skier. However, I do not view skies and snowshoes with the joy of a sporting enthusiast. Any trip that required that sort of exertion in the depth of winter meant something had gone horribly wrong. No, winter sports, for me, began the first winter of my apprenticeship at the schloss.

I first learned to ice-skate there, with borrowed wooden skates strapped to my old winter boots in the month before my first Yule away from home. The apprentices are given an hour break in the mid-morning and mid-afternoon, a chance for the younger of us to have some exercise, while the instructors and masters had their kaffeeklatsch. It kept us fit, and gave us time to pursue outside interests. I am just now learning how important those interests were to promotional reviews.

However, in ice-skating, it was my first chance to view winter as a season to enjoy, not just endure. The very young knew to anticipate Yule, wait patiently for the arrival of Grandfather Krechun and stay out of the reach of the Krampus. The long stretch of cold from the New Year to Snowmelt was characterized by digging out from the periodic blizzards, repairing or making new tools, knitting, or taking into hand some artistic carving to decorate the housen.

Down in the town around the schloss, the winters were not so hard, but the great lake would freeze hard enough for the Jaegerkin to play a grand rough-and-tumble game involving many sticks and much swearing. They used the rougher ice near the river's inlet, and the ice-dancers had the smoother spot near the weir. Both had their fascinations, but I became entranced by my classmates demonstrating the grace of the fey on the ice.

Now I find it is a common thing here to leave skates and such available for visitors, and began to see the varied ways people take to the ice. My very dear friend accompanied me to several places when we found ourselves free of immediate duties at the same time. I think the only thing that could make it better would be to find a way to ice-waltz, here.

It is my hope to have such a gift box available for visitors when the consulate office in Victoriana has the official opening this Saturday. It is the first time I have been involved in a large event. We have a few finishing touches to add tomorrow, and the seasonal items as well. I hope I do well by my patron.

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