It’s Christmas morning! I wake in a rumpled pile of fleece to find a cold little dog nose on mine and a volley of face licks to follow. I say, ” Merry Christmas Andie. It’s just you and me today,” as if today’s aloneness were somehow different than any other day. I feel it is. A peek out the front door determines it’s freezing cold, so I bundle Andie up in her new green winter coat and we head out. It’s early. The streets are empty and it’s so quiet. Beneath a pale yellow sun, I think for a moment that Andie and I are the only ones left in the village on this special day.
For weeks dark, black clouds filled with heavy, wet rain have filled the skies above our village. Off in the distance a patch of clear sunny blue belies the passing storms. Barren branches of huge, old Live Oaks carry globes of Mistletoe, which look like notes in a composition of Christmas carols. Clusters of Pyracantha punctuate the thick fog with bright red berries and waxy green leaves. The evenings have those vivid pink and golden vistas at sunset. A beautiful happening covers the holidays with storms and clearings, making exquisite the coming and going of seasons.
It is Solstice. We need light. We need song. We need celebration, hope and a way forward. We must come together and create a communal haven to counter the existential threat about to change our lives for a long time to come.
For weeks it has rained, then came the freezing nights. Sheets cover the outdoors hanging plants and the budding Daphne bushes in pots near the back door. Early Spring Lilies are well under way, just peeking above ground bundled by warm fallen leaf mounds, so they should survive. Late at night white frost covers all and the moon creates magic with thousands of tiny sparkling lights on rooftops and car hoods. Down the street Truck Mart is lit up like a Las Vegas showroom and it seems appropriate in the heralding of a Savior’s birth, albeit a NASCAR one. Other houses around the village are colorful and celebratory. Our expression is more somber and a nod to Gaia’s handy work, but still a reflection of angelic hope:
I think of Christmas’s past as Andie and I made our way out into the night. Still bearing the aura of great loss one is expected to feel sad with grief at this time of year, especially at Christmas, but that is not the case here. Poignancy more carefully casts it’s sweet light over memories and the joy on a face most beloved in a lifetime of love and devotion.
Watching Andie pretend to pee at 3:00 in the morning just because she knows a treat is coming, or she just has to check out that cat under the car is a tiny joy and a symphony of these brings the grace of a gratitude greater than sadness. Then there are the signs and omens at this time of year that appeal to we of the Celtic persuasion, who in the shadow of impending darkness find renewal in the hope of miracles as simple as a rose blooming in winter:
Yet, for all the traditional festive activities, the village is somber, quiet as if waiting for an abusive relative to ruin the party. A dark weight covers the land. Millions of primitives celebrate the coming anarchy and suffering of their supposed inferiors, while people of good will and spiritual vision come together, close ranks and hold fast to community and inclusive spirit. Such is our neighborhood. Kind folks have left treasures of lemons, bread, cookies, jams, salsa, delicious coco, a winter muffler, homemade caramels, friendly visits and warm embraces. We are invited to Christmas dinner with loving neighbors and have applied my meger culinary talents to bring sweet yams.
It is Christmas. It is Hanukkah. It is the time of Solstice when we celebrate life in the beginning of renewal, no matter what.
Santa has been good to Andie. She now has a wardrobe!
Thank you Santa’s!
Andie seems to like her outfits and steps into them quite like a runway pro. Lately, she’s been snagging the pink/black argyle off the kitchen chair and running down the hall with it to deposit with her favorite toys. I think she remembers it from her first puppy year. There is however, a slight discord in the outer parade of them. A block away lives a mean girl Chiwawa,
who enacts the mad scene from Lucia every time we walk by her house and to add insult to injury accused Andie of being a Barbie Dog—- The little Bitch ( technically speaking of course). Andie being well bred did manifest a slight opinion and nobly moved on:
Andie and I will be entering the New Year in better shape for having survived health issues and being grateful for those who made it possible to find healing and carry less stress. You know who you are dear ones. Thank You!
Andie is, I suspect ( and this is strictly entre nous ) a bit of a dumpster diver at heart, not very lady like, so we are going to call it ‘hobby collecting’. Here is a sample of a two day acquisition:
Somewhere along the line she may have swallowed something like the above street ephemera and for nearly a week became constipated, much to my worry. It may have been a partial result of a new diet ( to counter ear infections ) so bland and dry it makes Saltine Crackers taste like Parisian Croissants. I ate one and immediately applied cherry jam to make the second one tolerable.
Just to be certain and cover all bases I bought a loaf of gluten-free bread that cost $6.00! A loaf of bread for six dollars, what is this world coming to? But, since toast time is a major event in the morning and if Andie is allergic to gluten, I rationalized the experiment. Have you ever tasted gluten-free bread? It’s like a baked sponge, flavorless and lacking all oomph. This one advertised extra seeds. I counted them ( yes I did! ….I know…..) there were 44. That’s it. Sad. With a little sweet butter on it Andie doesn’t seem to notice the difference.
I am now adding green beans and olive oil to Andie’s conservative diet. On her own she is also eating broad leaf grass and the occasional non-digestible stick, which I must retrieve and add to the hobby collection. Thankfully all has turned out well .
I was more the victim of a grim political farce that has befallen the country. During the evening of the election announcement, late at night while asleep, I ground my teeth so hard that I cracked a molar in half and had to go to the dentist for the first time in a decade or so. No insurance, so you know the story. It got fixed and I also discovered I had a tiny cavity in that area that got repaired. It makes only the eighth cavity I have ever had and so in Pollyanna’s Happy Game, count my blessings it all came out OK….thanks to those Santa’s helpers, whose kindness is healing itself.
To you dear readers, thank you for your comments and kind words over the past year. Andie and I so appreciate you and wish for you a Merry Christmas, a Joyful Hanukkah, and a survivable New Year!