Before Christmas . . .and Beyond

It did not snow on Bonnet Street, though it was certainly cold enough to.  The days leading up to Christmas were filled with all sorts of weather. 
It rained a few days and felt like early April. The bitter cold came next. It was the wind- and it blew with malice, for two days.   It was well below freezing and there were power outages, because of that.  The boxer and I braved the harsh elements, for a quick stroll around the cottage.  I wanted to experience the extreme weather.  We did not linger, but I have now seen this particular sort of wind. 
I think this Christmas was the coldest one in a long while. I remember it was  1989 the last time, that pipes froze at Christmas  , for the children got a pony and cart that year! 
 School closed for the holidays and I got a quick visit with Brant, Sydney and those adorable boys.  A few days later, I was in Elizabeth City with my adorable girls. My  grandchildren are truly the icing on the loveliest cake I could have ever hoped for. 
The children were full of joy and not just because of “presents”, for we use great restraint to keep the season pure-though Brynn expected “gold, frankincense and myrrh” at one point and Ryan was convinced it must be his birthday.  The little “brother and sister cousins” , for that is what they call one another, are so happy and loving to one another.  Watching them, is one of my very favorite occasions.
We had several gatherings .  We all met at Mamas’ for each one.  She had company for several nights as well.  Every bed and a couch was used. 
At meals, every surface was laden with dishes-and the table was surrounded with chairs seldom used.  Looking back . . I feel blessed.  You can not have too many loved ones.
In the midst of cooking and visiting and decorating, I  painted a very large book case, I had made for the house. Now, all of my beloved books are sorted and stored in one location-with the exception of a collection of very old books.  They are in a cabinet, that belonged to my dearest friend Julies’ grandmother.  There is a door with etched glass that will protect them from the dust we kick up in the rosewood cottage. 
Julie was an avid reader and was always studying various subjects. . . hence she was smart as could be- and sassy as fire .  We could not hold a secret from one another, for we were were bound in a way,  that made it impossible.   I can not think of her, without tears welling up. 
  We continue to observe “Old Christmas”.  . .just as Pop and Grandma did.  We received little gifts and it stuck with me to remember the journey of the wise men to find baby Jesus. At Farm Life, Miss Sylvia revived my memory.  She had a celebration of “Old Christmas” every year. 
I  have had to discard the arrangements of pine, rosemary and cedar, for their beauty had faded.   . .  and was strewn on tables and every floor.  I did make a fresh bouquet, for I love the wild scent of evergreens.     Paired with fruit,  this winter fragrance  makes the cottage air as  wild and sweet as a patch of young woods.. 
I love winter.    The horizon is  fringed   with  a lace woven by the bare branches of trees, at rest.  Sunlight falls in patches of earth, forbidden in months like June.  The coldness and early nightfall seem to invite all to go home early , with its’ beckoning lights shining through the windows. If all goes well, the kitchen smells of savory, slow cooked foods-or maybe bread and coffee. 
Of course. my winters of yesteryears,  remain my favorites.  I did not have to beg the children to come in for supper, for the chill and dark of a winter evening crept up on them swiftly . How content I was to see them gathered, as I cooked.  I have always loved winter. 
Now with a new year dawning, I find myself remembering the  years with all of my elder. I go through my collection of lessons taught, of loving acts and practical life skills.  I love remembering our “way of life “.  I glean from the memories, what wisdom I can and preserve  what beauty,  I can. Even now, much of the lessons, remain true and worthy of consideration,  even in this flashy and flying age.  I was not handed “fools’ gold” for my pockets, as a child.  Now, as an older soul-I can recognize it a country mile away.
O what riches, I was bestowed . . . the kind that “moth and rust do not corrupt”- nor do they end up in a yard sale!  They do not break or fall out of style but instead, increase in value. . . and I think they bear repeating.
I suppose the new year has rekindled my gratitude and inspired me to love  . . .deeply  .  . . to live simply and with pure intensions.  I will strive with diligence to live with authenticity- and to be as genuine as I can.  “Putting on airs” is such a waste of energy- and besides, I’d rather be dusting furniture than practicing such a thing.. 
Sometimes, I have wondered if living  in your own specific spirit, might be our intended purpose.   After all, that  in itself, is truly a monumental feat and is only accomplished through countless acts of courage. 
 In addition, to my lofty notions, I want to surround myself with as much beauty and peace as this world will allow.   This will only come with consistent effort-and to stay that country mile away from “fools’ gold”.   . .That stuff is everywhere.