Pre-emptive rant: So today’s blog isn’t necessarily about photography, it is more about life lessons caught on digital files 🙂
Advertising works! Sometimes though, in ways advertisers probably never expected, or hoped for. I saw a mildly amusing television commercial about giving the gift of computers and i-Phones to your family and friends so you can all have a “virtual Christmas” this year. Who needs to actually spend quality time together when modern technology allows us to creep each other through tiny, buffered windows all season long? Well the commercial got to me. No, I didn’t hit the local electronics retailer and dump a few thousand dollars on gadgets. Instead, I grabbed my camera and my four year old daughter and we headed up Duck Lake Road for some real winter family fun. With technology advancing so rapidly these days, my mission was to show my daughter how we used to have winter fun back when I was a kid. You know, the days when Atari and Pong were at the forefront of innovation.
The snow that was falling in the area was awesome!
Powell River got hammered with the white stuff, so hunting down a good play area for snowman building, angel-making and good old fashioned snowball throwing was rather easy. No ski resorts, no fancy sleds, no snowmobiles, and best of all, no handheld gadgets to distract us from daddy-daughter interaction. I just wanted to see how much fun she could generate with her own imagination. And the moment we stepped out of the car near Haslam Lake she put that imagination to work.
Her winter playground consisted of nothing more than a short slope, a partially frozen pool of water and a heap of fresh falling snow. We spent nearly an hour here having sliding contests, breaking the ice-pool with rocks and arming ourselves with snowballs, just in case a cougar decided to show his face. Good thinking huh?
We then continued down the road to where the Blue Trail meets the road. Nothing terribly special here in the way of roadside attractions, but the snow was intense here and Sadie just couldn’t wait to get back out into the thick of it. This time, our goal was to make a huge snowman that would wave at any like-minded adventurers that decided to pass on Facebook in favour of a more natural reality.
Once the three-tiered snow dude was built to our satisfaction, my daughter came to an unsettling realization.
“Daddy, what are we going to use for his eyes, nose and mouth? Did you bring any carrots?”
Um, no. Thinking quickly, we slipped into a trickling creek on the side of the road and I asked her to find the best pair of rock eyes she could find. His nose was nothing more than two broken twigs forming a triangle. His mouth was a piece of fern that we shaped into a smile. His arms? Deadfall.
Voila! My young apprentice-of-life is now armed with the necessary skills to pull off an impromptu snow being whenever called upon.
Here comes our first passer-by! So we pose together like a couple of hams beside our new friend and wave as the vehicle’s occupants wave back with enthusiasm. They looked genuinely happy to see such a simple moment in a rather complex day and age.
I could tell my daughter did not want the day to end just yet. Neither did I. So Sadie decided we needed to build another snowman on the other side of the road, one that could greet drivers coming from the opposite direction. Again, good thinking.
Two snowmen later, I could see that the winter daylight was fading quickly. Plus Sadie’s hands were now wet and she could no longer ignore the discomfort, as much as she wanted to. So we hopped into the car and headed towards home. Normally when we drive, we listen to our favourite songs on the cd player. But this time, Sadie wanted nothing more than to open up her window and listen to the snow fly past, still trying to catch some in her mouth.
It’s like we just spent the entire afternoon, totally unplugged from the modern world, while completely plugged into the moment and each other’s company.
That night, after many hugs and snuggles from my worn-out daughter I thought again about that commercial earlier that day. Those advertisers were absolutely right. I do need to go shopping ASAP…
…for a warmer, more waterproof pair of child’s winter gloves for the next time the snow flies on the Sunshine Coast.