Word Prompt: Pause | Story Prompt: from the book “Barometer Rising” by Hugh MacLennan

Write It Out: Instruction Video

“All that night the storm grew and the wind drove steadily harder out of the northwest. The wind shattered the snow high in the air and when the flakes reached the ground they had the consistency of sand. Horses and men travelling north moved with hanging heads into the gale that lashed the snow against them and drove it into the horses’ eyes and embedded frozen particles in the men’s collars and clothing. The temperature dropped steadily and by early morning it was not far above zero. Wagon wheels began to stick in drifts and soon only the heaviest trucks were able to smash through. Many horses had become too tired to pull and their owners had to stable them for the night. Some men had found sleighs, and after dark there was much activity as the wheels were stripped off slovens and replaced by runners.

The snow fell invisibly in the darkest night anyone in Halifax could remember, for the gas lights that illuminated the streets were not burning. In most of the North End there was total blackness, apart from the glimmer reflected from the snow around the occasional glow of a lingering fire. The streets circumscribing the base of the Citadel were outlined by lights that bobbed dimly behind the curtain of falling snow in endlessly moving chains. These were the lanterns and hurricane lamps that swung from the shafts of the sleighs coming and going from the North End. In the South End, most of the windows had been covered by beaverboard or planks or blankets nailed on the inside, and few gave out any light. Here and there at street corners the police had hung out red lanterns.

Now the whole city was quiet. By early morning the rescue workers were too tired or hungry to speak and there was nothing to hear but the wind and the hiss of sleigh-runners gliding over the streets and the constant whisper of falling snow.”

***

A pause. The space between inhale and exhale. The moment between spark and explosion. Isn’t it strange how a single moment can sometimes seem to last an eternity, while entire lifetimes can seem to have gone by in the blink of an eye?

As we approach the winter solstice, the longest dark of the year in the northern hemisphere, it is a good time to pause and reflect. It is a good time to give thanks for all that we’ve accomplished, for how far we’ve come – no matter how great or small the accomplishments, the distance. It is a good time to take stock of where we are, of where we’d like to be next year at this time, and to think about small, easy steps we might take towards those goals. Planning too much, too far ahead can feel overwhelming, insurmountable.

Pause. Breathe. Write.

Thoughts? Feel free to share them here.

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