In youth, some of the simplest things can offer the greatest joy – think of a child splashing in a puddle of mud or chasing fireflies in the warm August twilight. For Artie, it was making snow angels.
She grew up in the dense forests of northern Ontario with three brothers, and found great pleasure in the winter season that so many Canadians curse. “I love the crispness and cold of the snow,” Artie says. “The sky is always clear after a snow fall.”
She remembers how she’d lie in the fresh snow, arms and legs spread wide to make her angels in the crisp winter air, and most certainly a brother would come along to bury her in cold powder and laughter. She eventually had a family of her own in the Hamlet of Hawk Junction where she grew up, and she used to make snow angels with her children on the days when the snow was fresh. There’s not a lot to do in the depths of winter there, she says, but they found enjoyment in simple pleasures and she remembers those days fondly.
Time has moved on and Artie has long since left the north behind, at least physically. For the past 15 years she’s called The Village of Tansley Woods in Burlington home. The progression of multiple sclerosis in her body demands long-term care and these days she relies upon a wheelchair for mobility and a team of people she considers extended family for support.
Snow angels, it may seem, should be relegated to the promises of memory for someone like Artie, but not at Tansley Woods. “Don’t tell me I can’t go in the snow because I would go crazy,” she says.
The team knows of her love of winter and the joy she found in the simple pleasure of a snow angel, so after a fresh dump of snow in the middle of February, the team helped Artie dress for the weather and out she went.
“Dreams as small as wanting to make a snow angel shouldn’t be restricted because of someone’s capabilities,” the team believes, and for the first time in eight years, Artie felt the cold of the snow upon her back, just as she once did as a girl of the northern woods.
“It made me feel fantastic,” Artie says. “I was pleased, satisfied and felt younger; just a little bit younger which didn’t hurt. I would like to say thank you, to the team. I got a lot of pleasure out of it. They’re good people.”
It turns out that it’s not only in youth that simple pleasure offers great joy. No matter age or ability, happiness in simplicity is open to us all, and Artie and the Tansley Woods team is a fine example of this philosophy brought to life.