Past the snow-covered fallow fields, I drove towards home carrying the last Christmas present for a family member on the seat beside me. The curve of slate-coloured Hunt Club Road twined with the white fields under a spilled milk sky.
It was 9:30 in the morning and not many vehicles were on the road yet. A car length ahead in the lane beside me rolled a huge shiny black truck with gleaming silver hubcaps. The driver was lost in its vast cab except for a bright yellow watch cap hugging his head. Passing a load of judgement, I grumbled to the dashboard.
“I doubt that truck has ever carried a load of dirt, a clothes dresser, or a kitchen table and chairs. Hell no. That truck is supporting a glittering ego.”
We whizzed along the road, him tailgating the car in front of him, unable to change lanes because another driver was in front of me in the slower lane. We formed a tight convoy travelling a safe 80 kilometres per hour, three of us content with our pace.
I was listening to the radio. Gordon Lightfoot’s Song for a Winter’s Night. The line “The morning light steals across my windowpane/where webs of snow are drifting” pulled my sight across the white fields into the grey horizon. Lightfoot’s poetry settled over my dirty, road salt crusted Hyundai like a blanket of forgiveness and I let go of my snark. I forgave myself and the truck driver’s presumed trespasses.
The car ahead of the truck surged forward, peeved I guess at the tailgating, and gave Mr. Truck space to zig into the slower lane one car ahead of me, then zag beyond the driver who’d frustrated his progress back into the fast lane. In the distance a traffic light blinked from green to yellow to red and Mr. Truck’s brake lights flashed crimson when he stopped. His yellow-capped head stared straight in front never once glancing sideways, confident in the supremacy of his vantage point above little drivers like me, seeing everything I could not.
George Harrison’s My Sweet Lord began playing and I sang along while bobbing my head in time to the music and banging my invisible tambourine on the steering wheel. Regardless of your faith, I defy you not to feel the spirit that dances in the music and lyrics of the song. Roughly halfway through when the happy jingle of the tambourine starts I felt an expansion in my lungs and a pulse quickening. I couldn’t help but smile. I smiled and smiled and smiled as I pulled alongside Mr. Truck at another traffic light. In the shine of the passenger door I saw myself reflected, a giddy, happy woman.
“Well, hello Christmas spirit,” I said.
I sang at the top of my lungs with George. I wanted to roll down my window to share the joyful noise, make a dent with my voice in Mr. Truck’s door but the light changed to green and we both zoomed forward. He was faster than me, of course.
I followed his yellow capped head, a candle flame spreading a sheen over the road home.