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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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11 thoughts on “Before Christmas . . .and Beyond

  1. Happy New Year to you and yours. Looks like we may be in for a wild ride but us nailed down folks will just ride it out. No snow here but more than our share of cold. Spring will be a welcome guest. Love you .

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  2. A lovely post as usual. Sounds like you had the same cold weather we did. Christmas was below freezing here in Arkansas. In 2021 it was 73 degrees on Christmas Day – such whacky weather. You had such a nice Christmas with your family. Memories of Christmas past are so nice to remember. The New Year always makes us think of those we have lost and how much we will miss them. Let’s all pray 2023 will be a good year for all of us.

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  3. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours Michele! It sounds like you had a lovely time with family. We did as well and it is wonderful but always with a bit of bittersweet for those no longer with us.

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  4. You had cold weather. In Maine, we had warm weather. When it comes to weather, weird is the new normal. A very happy New Year to you and yours. I hope it is a year filled with beauty.

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  5. Such a lovely post to read on a Sunday morning! Wishing you blessings in the New Year! You are so right about living an authentic life and being your true self. It is the only path that leads to any kind of happiness. And I agree with you that our divine purpose in this life is to live the life God has called for us to live.

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  6. Dearest Rabbit:

    Please accept my apology for my inexcusable absence.
    I have yet to congratulate you on the birth of your grandson, and do so now belatedly.
    These recent days have been simplified to extents Thoreau would approve of, and I have been deaf to the sirens’ calls of writing and blogging.
    Life on Bonnet Street beckoned to me, as the sea calls to the sailor, and as always I am rewarded with words that seem to come from my own heart and spirit.
    Retirement has been like leaping off a cliff and discovering I had wings.
    Liberation from the clock and calendar gifted me with unlimited hours to ponder all these many things you and I have spoken of, and continue to speak of.
    So much of my sabbatical brought the same thoughts of fool’s gold and living with authenticity, perhaps a heightened awareness of the degrees to which a certain insincerity seems to have flooded our modern lives. I, too, recalled days of yore, and in those recollections saw the great value in those things that endure, that “moth and rust cannot corrupt.”
    Indeed these many virtues are timeless, they have not been lost, though sublimated by the lights and sounds of a “flashy and flying age”.
    It’s up to us to carry these torches, and to hand them like an Olympic flame to our progeny.
    The gift of maturity allows us to clearly see that life is simply beautiful, good really does triumph over evil in the end, and above all, love is enduring.

    All my best,

    Scott

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