Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Twelve Days of Christmas: The Sixth Day

Apparently, the Sixth Day of Christmas is also New Year's Day Eve.  Who knew?  I woke up early, fed the cats and brought my coffee back to bed where I got crawled back in (still warm) to read and sip in comfort.  Bliss (after I retire, I plan to start every day this way).

The book in my hands this morning was A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L'Engle.  The blurb on the back of the book describes it thus:  "I know it will give great consolation to ordinary people who sometimes wonder why they bother to get out of bed in the morning." -- Jean Kerr

Even though I knew why I'd bothered to get out of bed on this particular morning (e.g., to feed the cats before they attacked and to get my coffee), this author's words are a consolation and a revelation.    She says that some things can only be understood intuitively rather than in terms of provable fact.  "An infinite question is often destroyed by finite answers"  is one sentence that sang true.  Another was, "The deeper and richer a personality is, the more full it is of paradox and contradiction."  These quotes don't seem to mean much out of context...or do they?

Anyway, when, three cups later, I got out of that toasty bed, I felt consoled.  Enough, in fact, to get dressed and go outside in the frosty morning to take pictures of the last sunrise of the year.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Twelve Days of Christmas: The Fifth Day

Another tradition that will be staying;  living Christmas trees strung with a few lights and placed in front of the glass of the double doors.



For the past few years, we've gotten California incense cedars.  They're native to this region and don't need much summer water so they do very well at Frogpond.  If it isn't too cold, my plan is to get them in the ground on New Year's Day.  I'm certain that the dogs and Max will be right there helping.


The Twelve Days of Christmas: The Fourth Day

Actually, today is the Fifth Day of Christmas: I forgot all about blogging yesterday until I was in bed ready to fall asleep.  This is what comes of not doing something for so long.  So here is what I would have posted for the Fourth Day, had I remembered.

Arby planted himself on my apron on cookie-making day and I didn't have the heart to move him.  So he supervised from his perch while I stirred up a batch of spice cookies.

I must admit that I took little joy in Christmas festivities this year.  For years I've tried to keep alive the magic that I'd felt as a child, but have felt it slipping away as the decades passed.  I remember the long ago winter evenings of lying under the Christmas tree with the room dark except for the blinking of colored lights in the branches and the sparkle of tinsel.  For a brief time, the mundane world was transformed into something infinitely glorious and mystical.  

This year, as I plodded into the Christmas season, I finally realized that I no longer wished to force myself into these rituals any longer.  As a child, feeling as I do today would have been inconceivable and heartbreaking.  But trying to keep this fire lit in the old ways has become fossilized and meaningless.  So this year I tried to steer away from the old ways of celebrating winter and worked to reinvent how I approach the season.  This attempt had mixed results, but I think I'm on the right track.

The good news is that the activity of baking spice cookies with my cat is a keeper.  We'll build around that.

Monday, December 28, 2015

The Twelve Days of Christmas: The Third Day

Today I read this poem by Canadian poet P.K. Page.  I think that my dear husband, bird watcher and admirer of Corvids everywhere, will like it.  So:

                                                              The Crow

By the wave rising, by the wave breaking
high to low;
by the wave riding the air, sweeping the high air low
in a white foam, in a suds,
like a churchwarden, like a stiff
turn-the-eye-inward old man
in a cutaway, in the mist
the crow.


Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Twelve Days of Christmas: The Second Day

Today was a day of little action and almost no accomplishment.  Strangely, it sped by and the afternoon had arrived before I'd barely greeted the morning.  On this second day of Christmas I was once again crippled by the anger and hopelessness that comes over me at odd intervals since Becky's death.  It's disheartening to still feel so low.  Must be twice so for poor Bruce who must bear with me.  And he does, with surprisingly good grace.

So, on this second day of Christmas, I am grateful to have pulled out of my low spirits by this evening.  I can go to sleep feeling more like my old self.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Twelve Days of Christmas: The First Day

Hello, Blog.  I've missed you.  So much has happened that the longer I stayed away, the harder it was to gather the energy I thought I'd need to get caught up.  I would walk around, living my life and experiencing things, all the while with my writer's eye hard at work catching the action and setting it into words.  But these words would stay in my head for a short while and then get booted out by the next event that caught my attention.  That's what happens when I don't write things down.

I was drifting away from writing here since last spring.  For some reason that I can't quite nail down, keeping up the posts became less of a pleasure and more of a chore.  The writing kept dwindling until by July it stopped altogether.

Then on August 5 our daughter, Becky, died by suicide.  She was only 31 years old and had bipolar disease.  I wasn't surprised when I got the call about her death, but it still shocked me to the core.  It's been about five months since that day, and I'm now certain that I'm going to be ok.  But I'm never going to be the same.  And that's not a bad thing -- it's just the way it is.

So, Blog, I'm back.  Now I'll be seeing the world through a different lens.  This is unsettling, but also interesting.  I'm glad to be back.