A week of celebrating, and a drizzly, slate-gray morning have led me to reflect on some of the small moments of this big season. Yep, some fond memories and a cuppa joe are warming my winter chills this morning. Chastened by the benefits of age and expectation, I tend to enjoy Christmas in a less-is-more fashion. Gone are the days of keeping a ledger, a not-so-subliminal list of activities, events, and must-do’s that add up to having a proper Christmas. I’ve come to realize that seeing the show, heading to the mall, picking the perfect tree, and buying expensive gifts, a Christmas does not make, nor provide meaning to. I suspect we all know that, but when the Christmas train leaves the station in October, I have to make a conscious effort to stay off the tracks. The gifts of the season (and my life, for that matter) are the people in it.
The day after Christmas I was invited to an open house by friends who I would have to say always have an open house in my mind. I saw some old friends, made some new ones, and stumbled into few conversations where my mind and mouth were woefully out of concert; and this without the help of some boozy eggnog. Wood stoves and wool sweaters get the best of me, so I needed to cool down outside on the covered porch. A wicker chair awaited my arrival. I just had to maneuver through the minefield of shoes, clogs, boots, Birkenstocks, and Bogs blanketing the front stoop. One false step, and I would crush someone’s favorite footwear, and no doubt trip the light fantastic. Secure in the chair and a brisk embrace, and with no sprained ankles to speak of, I eased back and looked up at the rafters and strings of Christmas lights. Water drops on my glasses, made for quite a show.
Perched on a porch between indoors and out, I could hear muffled laughter and spirited conversations behind the changing kaleidoscope of steamy windows. As a self-proclaimed human furnace, I find sanctuary on porches, where bouts of wind and rain say “howdy-do” and “simmer down” in one bracing kiss. A quintessential Pacific Northwest drizzle held an impromptu concert on the rhodie leaves and rain chain. It really can be the sweetest sounding rain you’ve ever heard. There’s no urgency in either its delivery or its dissipation. A few deep inhales and exhales, and the wind ushered away my sighted breath into the night. Christmas, like its recent full moon, was waning; and closure was in the house and on the porch. I found comfort in the spirited voices behind me, beauty in the abundance before me, and calm in knowing the next few days would be willingly served by peace and quiet. Happy New Year, my friends. May we all find the light that fuels our lives.
Note: These photos were taken earlier, as I can’t find my camera. I know it’s around here somewhere; perhaps I’m in need of a New Year’s resolution about putting things away…nah, that’s crazy talk. Again, well wishes for the coming year!