It is 11:20 pm on a dark and cold night. Everyone is asleep now, except for me.
I am sitting in my dark living room, quietly reflecting on then night we just had. It was one that I will tuck away in my memories. One that I want to keep on file for some day down the road, when I want to remember what it was like to be here in Beaver Creek.Tonight was the community Christmas feast. An annual tradition. A big turkey dinner, a short concert performed by the school children, and gifts given out by Santa, to the children. It was one of those nights where I felt a bit emotional. Christmas does that to me.
Being up North, many Northerners from "away" have to deal with missing their families at Christmas time. It's on one of those hard parts of living in an isolated community. Family is far, and especially at Christmastime, you feel it. But despite missing family, tonight, I was overcome with such strong emotions of gratitude. Because, while it doesn't always feel like it, tonight at the Christmas feast, it felt like we were in a large room full of extended family. You see, my children are so close with many of our friends here in the community, that they almost feel like Grandmas and Aunties to them.... and that is a special thing.
Tonight Noah (the only non First Nations student at the school), proudly spoke in Upper Tanana (the Native language here) in front of the whole room!He said, "my Indian name is Batman (Hach Ti Dineh). I swear, I had to hold back my tears.
It was one of those nights, where it seemed like people put aside their differences. Hugs, best wishes, laughter and love was the spirit. It could be felt.
It was one of those nights that I want to remember.
~ Children all dressed up for their Christmas concert. Visibly nervous, all standing together, fidgeting and shifting in their places.
~ The excitement of receiving a cool gift from Santa. Just what they had hoped for. All the kids, happy and thankful.
~ a long lineup to get Christmas dinner. Everyone from the community is there. Elders, young folks, families, children. Tons of food. Plates piled high.
~ kind comments, well wishes and "merry Christmases shared.
~ The twinkly lights. The Christmas trees. The candles on each table. The music. The feeling.