Childhood Christmas in Jizera Mountains


After our traditional cross-country ski hike to Jested, it’s a day of rest.
I am strolling under the peaceful tints of the world’s ceiling
as it blends with fresh pine trees proudly standing.
Both still and quiet after the wheezing two-day storm I wished for.
The branches are holding freshly clean pillows for the willows to rest on.
Once again, they won the battle of the fittest during crisp winter,
Giving the components that carry berries and fruits time to rest,
To prepare to bloom and produce thousands of new color blends,
and nutritious compounds of saccharinity in a few months.

The village has its familiar warmth.
I know the unique harmony of every home.
I surpass the row of houses.
They seem to be bowing in front of the bells of a local chapel,
As it reaches for the clouds with a rusted cross.
My cheeks are pink, with frost touching them lightly.
The cold white fabric cracks beneath the soles of my shoes,
And the December hills shine their way across like a crystal desert,
Where each crystal carries a unique pattern,
A burst of six arms and their formations,
Proud of their energy,
No matter how short their life may seem.
I wonder if there are more species of snowflakes,
Than anything else, still glittering in silence,
Under the sun or the street lamp at night.
They will always glitter in my mind,
Almost like nature’s reminders,
if there were only one special snowflake,
We could go extinct,
Or could be transformed.

There is a black poodle “Azor,”
happily sniffing on my right.
His paws are like four snowballs
Dancing continuously around his body,
Getting bigger and bigger…
What a valuable problem solver,
Knowing that the snow will eventually melt,
When he gets to lay down next to the fire.
His marble eyes peek amid the fluff of curls,
glistening with wisdom, innocence, and curiosity,
ready to explore whatever mission they find me contemplating.

I pull a sleigh with two large urns,
Splashing fresh water from a local stream.
I should hurry home, but I feel adventurous.
Right now, I am one of London’s characters,
I crawled through the harsh Yukon winter in the middle of a deadly night.
Every five steps of this strenuous hill call for the urgency
To try starting that fire.
If I can crush two stones with my frostbitten fingers,
I may have a chance of survival.
Azor is now a wild wolf, getting closer to the fire.
His meat could be my food, and his fur my coat,
But do I yearn for friendship more after a month of walking in solitude?

Suddenly I come back to reality, spotting the smoke.
It comes from our wood-burning stove.
It’s a sign of humanity! I can make it!
I arrive home to see others with a few raised eyebrows.
“How did you take a full hour to walk 100m?
The schnitzels are getting cold!”
Thus begins our quiet and cozy Christmas Eve.
I add fresh pine cones to our candle base on the table,
standing in the middle of a shared room,
I take a look at the ambiance of the evening…
carp from the tub to the fryer, potato salad, Christmas cookies,
candles, sparkles, laughs, storytelling, the opening of presents, games,
followed by gathering with friends in Rasovka.
We end the evening with snowball fights and egg nog,
checking out the sizes of icicles hanging from our rooftop,
and frost glued to our windows,
noting a sign of a healthy and buoyant winter!

Fun Fact – Fierce Azor died much later of the old age of 19.5 years, well known to breed until the time of his death. He adopted his role as a wild wolf quite seriously throughout his life and even became a leader of the dog pack in the village when I departed to the USA, biting dogs three times his size in the ass if they didn’t follow his orders. 😀


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