Winter Vignette

Snow is whipping horizontally past the window, pausing occasionally to pirouette in graceful swirls before streaming on by. Shades of grey blending to white speak a chill into my bones even as I sit cradling my morning mug of coffee. It is the knife edge of winter. Calendars declare winter to be a two day old child; the storm shouts I am a man!

It is warm within. The soft hum of furnace fan comforts with a gentle stirring of life sustaining heat. The coffee pot is almost full; Christmas goodies in abundance wait on the shelf.

It has not been that long a time since even royalty were not as favored or as comfortable as this. Constant warmth, comfortable beds, and blessing above blessings, indoor plumbing have made life move past endurable to grace and ease.

Slowly, family members stir from their beds adding music and clatter to the scene. Preparations in anticipation of celebrations add to the atmosphere’s glow. What a treasure to be part of and accepted into a caring family.

So blow, Wind. Do your dance, Snow. Deep in my heart a song of thanksgiving rises. I am most blessed among women.

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The Old is New and I’m Confused

Fragrance of the freshly baked stollen fills the room.  My tree is a thing of beauty, decorated as it always is with a lifetime of accumulated trim and baubles.  Almost every gift is wrapped and many have already been dispatched to points afar. Several kinds of cookies are stacked in tins on the porch.

Christmas is here.  And yet in all the doing, there is at this time of my life, a sense of — emptiness is not the word — a feeling that something is missing.  The old traditions have had to yield to the demands of life changes.  Children are grown, established elsewhere, and no longer need to have my “production” of the Christmas event.  Should I go to one of their homes, I am a spectator, not a participant.  If I stay home I am in a situation of trying to do the old thing with a friend who does not share my traditions and does not feel comfortable with gifts, either given or received.  My downstairs friends have spent weeks in preparation for their family time away;  celebrating the season here is not part of their deal.

Some of my family want me to travel across country to celebrate with them.  Oh, to be translated!  Travel by plane during the holidays is even more stressful than it normally is.  When asked, “what do you really want to do?” I am at a loss.  Be with people I love, without having to pack up to get there.  Or, have a quiet time at home. Or, go to a five star resort and be pampered (for a price, of course.) 

So, instead of the delight and joy that should be mine, there is an inner stress.  What do I really want?  I know, what I want is someone to make the decisions for me for a while.  Take me by the hand and say, “this is the way, walk ye in it.”