Dear Souls

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Ellen's picture

Dear Souls,

I want to share with you some moments in time.



Christmas day in Boulder, Colorado began with a sky of steel but lawns and driveways of rolling virgin snow. Quiet. No one crept out at eight o'clock in the morning to shovel the driveway. Snow-balled Mugo pine branches lay against the windows of the house like frozen pressed flowers. There was no ear-splitting shriek of iced branch against glass as I often hear in winter time. No breeze stirred the trees and shrubs. No wings scattered among the boughs. No chatter at the feeders. Sixteen degrees Fahrenheit is cold for the birds. I was glad there was no where to be. I curled up in bed and observed the landscape from inside.

By mid-morning, the sun had risen to a bright ball that was contained inside a thin shell of condensation set in the sky like a bleached opal above the black skeleton trees. Then I passed a south-facing window and saw them. Silver drops like frozen tears. They sparkled in the air as if shed from the sky. The only movement in the frozen world was this glitter in the pale sunlight. A gift to those who stop to look and stay awhile. The sun had shrugged off the clouds. I ran to get Dave and pointed to the drops. We chatted about nucleation sites on dust motes. If ice could form a film on water, surely it could form one on particles in the air..!?

Now the neighborhood was awake. The scrape of a shovel, the roar of a motor. On the north side, the sun pressed the snow-painted shingles of the garage roof until they seem to steam with heat. After a moment I saw that it was the shadow of warm air coming out of the vents at the top of the house. Just a bit of cold, snow, and sun can create a magnificent phenomenon!

I caroled with friends and neighbors a few nights back. We walked the neighborhood with the first quarter moon lighting our way. It's glow helped us avoid the ice, but didn't obscure the map of stars. Cassiopeia and the Little Dipper shone clearly. Bright colored bulbs from front porches met the atmosphere above and it seemed to be an orchestrated light show. The two little girls in our chorus rang the door bells and launched us into renditions of “Jingle Bells,” “Hark the Herald,” “Frosty the Snowman,” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” No one cared if we were off key or off tempo. Sometimes I started a song obviously too high or too low, but I found myself giggling like a kid by the time we were through.

Just the first few notes of a classic holiday carol will send me back. I'm ten years old and sitting around the blazing tree on Christmas Eve listening to Gene Autry and Vince Guaraldi while stuffing my face with orange creme-filled chocolates. (I'll have a stomach ache by the early hours of the morning.) I'd spent the day running outside in the snow, building tunnels and snowmen and forts, then throwing snowballs at my brothers and sister until our fingers froze. We'd run inside the house, jostling against each other to be the first one to the kitchen furnace vent. Mom would be mixing Christmas cookie batter. She'd tsk tsk at us and push an old towel across the linoleum with her foot to catch the snow melting off our boots. And oh the smells of baking sweets, evergreen branches, and spice!

The great thing about memories is that they can be enjoyed again and again, changed a bit to make yourself look better, then enjoyed some more.

Dave and I have had a quiet holiday full of Gin Rummy by the fire while sipping Colorado specialty beers, long walks, and movie marathons (Indiana Jones versus Romancing the Stone, Harry Potter). Dave still loves his job and the freedom of working at home. I'm learning a lot about novel writing as I work on Saving Eleanor. We rattle around at opposite ends of the house and keep out of each other's hair. We do joint projects, too, such as tofu-making and paper marbling. Dave is still making furniture, sewing fleece work clothes, making cheese, cooking and gardening. I keep myself busy when not writing by reading, gardening, cycling, taking long walks, and spending time with friends. I am always creating new moments like jeweled beads on a long string. They'll join the smooth and shiny gems already strung from long ago.

It's great to be part of a family and a gaggle of good friends. Thanks again for your support and your patience this year as always, and for sharing your needs as well as your strengths. We hope that you all have a pleasant and safe winter season. Hope to see some of you after the snow melts. Keep playing and singing. Have fun collecting and treasuring the moments in your life. And Happy New Year!
__________________________

Ellen
Ever learning, Everlasting