Most nights of late I am drawn awake in the wee morning hours. As I roll over to my right side, my eyes open slowly, and I am greeted by a sky of sparkling stars and sometimes if I am lucky, even the precious moon is in my view. Each night, as I awake I am astounded by the night sky. It has been decades since I’ve lived anywhere with a view of those nightly jewels.
It is a deep comfort. This view of the stars. Their presence settles me in my restlessness.
As winter solstice approaches, the hours of sunlight have significantly diminished. By early evening, lights or candles are necessary. The nights are long and there is a lot of time to think. It is during these dark hours that the melancholy sinks in.
It’s an odd thing to follow your dreams. Or maybe it is that the human experience is one long experience of continuously learning and relearning, pausing and noticing. There is joy. There is grief. There is sadness and pain. There is joy. There is peace. And on and on. For many of us, this time of year is particularly laden with strong memories. Lately, I’ve been thinking about my dear old house in Texas at Christmas time and all the wonderful memories of Bea growing up there. Her little footsteps running down the hall when she was 2. The way the evening winter sun flooded the living room floor for just a brief moment before dusk arrived. How Bea would so often drag the stool to the countertop and join in on whatever it was I was doing in the kitchen. All the Christmas baking and the candles we lit. Carols around the piano with dear friends. And hot cocoa in our Santa mugs. Those were very, very special years. We left a lot of love when we moved.
I don’t regret moving here. There is so much we want to discover that we couldn’t do in Texas but as is the nature of things, with the light, there is the dark. It is one.
Beyond the bittersweetness of remembering days past, It been a lovely season so far. The stockings are hung. The nativity scene is tucked in on the windowsill, and the wooden advent wreath is the table centerpiece. There has been snow. I’m fairly strict about keeping the advent season quiet. This year I feel I have been particularly successful. Less of everything has been my greatest desire. Less gifts to each other. Less garland (yes, I live in the woods and have all the garland I’d ever want this year, but since it’s all around me in nature, I feel like it’s good there and I don’t need it so much in my house). We dug up a sweet little hemolock and decorated it very sparsely. The branches cannot endure much weight so we chose only our most favorite and lightweight ornaments to adorn it. Since we try to run on solar power as much as possible, we didn’t add lights to the tree or the house. Instead, I’ve been lighting tea lights in the windows each night. There have been no big treks into the city to attend The Nutcracker or any other holiday festivity. We’ve opted for hikes up the mountain and time at home, crafting and baking. I didn’t even send out holiday cards.
We have one more week until Christmas. My goal is to mail out the care packages we have prepared for family and to decorate a few evergreens in the woods with popcorn, cranberries, and dried oranges
All is calm. All is bright.
Thank you, dear souls for taking the time to follow my journey as I sporadically document the magic of the everyday here on this blog.
Oceans of love to you.