Now at last it's December, and--for me, anyway--the holiday season begins in earnest.
Goodbye, Thanksgiving leftovers! They're going into the freezer. I don't want to see them any more. Or at least for a couple of weeks. I need a break from turkey; don't you?
Today the pumpkins are coming off the front porch and side tables and going in the green recycling bin. (Maybe next year into a compost pile.)
Goodbye, pumpkins! Goodbye, autumn leaf garlands! Goodbye, ocher and russet and bittersweet!
Hello, white and blue, silver and crystal! Hello, snowflakes!
Ah, snowflakes: We have a quite a collection. There are crystalline ones and tinsel ones and adorable construction-paper ones made by our children years and years ago.
Today, I'm poking around in our CD collection for anything Baroque or madrigal in nature. December always seems the best time for Baroque.
And now that it's December, my thoughts turn toward the gift-giving portion of this season. There won't be much of this:
Ahem. Not that I don't love gifts.
But this season, I don't want anything. Really!
No, that's not true: I want to be aware. Aware of how lucky I am, every day, every time I turn around.
Somewhere I read a clever essay that said most of our modern annoyances and complaints are really blessings that we're seeing the wrong way. I don't recall who first came up with this thought, but it goes something like this:
Are there dirty dishes in your sink? Say your thanks, because dirty dishes mean you have food for you and your family.
Dirty laundry? = Say thanks for having soap and clean water.
Dog poop in the yard? = Somebody with four feet loves you unconditionally.
Long list of errands? = You are blessed to be able to purchase drugs, groceries, dry cleaning, etc.
Bad news in the paper? = You can read!
Aches and pains? = You are able to feel. You are alive.
Got grey hair? = You have hair!
In that light, there's just not much I want this holiday season.
I want all my loved ones to come home. I want to make them yummy meals.
I'd like to finish my project of turning all of my beautiful leftover bits of yarn into sweet little knitted scarves. And then I'd like to give all those scarves away.
I'd like to whip up extra batches of cookies and candy and hearty soups to give to my sweet neighbors--like the one who lets my son park in front of his yard whenever he wants. And the one who swears she's not bothered when my pugs bark maniacally next to her kitchen window. And the one who urges me to help myself to her roses when she's out of town.
Yeah, they deserve this:
And maybe a homemade version of this:
This season, I'd like to sit in a sunny corner with my pugs on my lap, a pot of tea next to me, and something good to read.
I'd like to send that wonderful feeling to my new "sister" I'm sponsoring in the Democratic Republic of Congo. However, she is still working hard to get enough to eat for her family, and establishing a steady supply of clean water.
The watches and the cashmere scarves and the bling and the designer shoes and the limited-edition DVD collections are all very well and good, I suppose.
But this year, this season, I don't need them. I have all the bliss I can wish for, right now. Right here.