All of these pre-Christmas sales! Flyers stacked on flyers, stacked on flyers, arriving in the mail. The thing is, the prices for everything I am looking at are very, very high. With prices this high, we will make very few purchases, and will insist that everything we buy be made in Canada, if at all possible. Truth be told, we don’t make many purchases anyway!
My Christmas wish list is very short this year, a new energy efficient hot water heater, and a new energy efficient refrigerator. Those are gifts that would keep on giving, every single day we spend at the little house in the city. OK, for the budget conscious gift givers in my life, which is ALL of the gift givers in my life, warm socks are very much appreciated. Good quality coffee is great too.
Yesterday was gift wrapping day. We have gifts for our siblings, nieces, nephew, Mom’s and Dad, Grandchildren, and last of all each other. It occurred to me as I was cutting and folding and taping, that I may just be the worst gift wrapper alive in the world today. Gift wrapping is not my strength. And yet, aside from the appearance of the end results, I enjoy gift wrapping. The colours are wonderful, the sentiment warming. The wrapped gifts are all under the tree now, and if I do not look too closely, or if I take my glasses off, it makes wonderful picture.
The tree continues to gulp great amounts of water, and is being watered twice daily. It is losing some, but really very few, needles. The pine scent is heavenly. In the morning the lights are turned on, to great effect, as we rise several hours before dawn.
The Christmas tree is such a cheerful, warming presence in the room. When the celebration is over, and the decorations are stored away for another year, the house will seem empty and drab. Terra and I have been talking about some sort of colourful February decorating event. We have family day in February, a statutory holiday in much of Canada, to which we could attach some colour. Valentine’s Day already exists. Colour, warmth and hope are the themes I need in February, detached from the focus of family or a romantic partner. I will be on the lookout for a focus.
The dark days of winter put me in mind of a program I watched sometime in the last few years. It gave me an “AHA!” moment. It dealt with a time when humans did not have electric lights, which was most of human history. The point made was that material and items that reflected light were impressive in fire-lit abodes, which is where humans were hanging out after dark. Wearing items that reflected light meant that movement sparkled, so to speak. How wonderful gold threads, shiny beads, and the like, would have appeared in the hearth-fire glow.
In the dead of winter I could use some of that primordial human sparkle. For now Christmas colour and light cheer the long dark evenings and mornings.
It is now just after 7:00 a.m. Attila sleeps on, exhausted from an extremely busy week at work. I sit writing, gazing out the window at the quickening light and the falling snow, with the glow of colour from the Christmas tree constantly catching my attention out of the corner of my eye. Mist is sleeping near me, on the chesterfield. She has had her morning ration of milk, and will sleep until she hears Attila stir, at which time she will yowl loudly at him, then sit diligently in front of the masonry heater, gazing at it with silent intent.
The weather report calls for snow squalls, the roads will be unpredictable. We had considered travelling today, but postponed our visiting for another time, when the driving conditions will be safer.
SNOW SQUALL WARNING IN EFFECT
Current Conditions Light Snow
Date: 7:24 AM EST Saturday 7 December 2013
Condition: Light Snow
Pressure: 102.7 kPa
Visibility: 8 km
Wind: NNW 5 km/h
Wind Chill: -9
A favourite poem, one our mother read to us at bedtime.
“The Land of Story-books
At evening when the lamp is lit,
Around the fire my parents sit;
They sit at home and talk and sing,
And do not play at anything.
Now, with my little gun, I crawl
All in the dark along the wall,
And follow round the forest track
Away behind the sofa back.
There, in the night, where none can spy,
All in my hunter’s camp I lie,
And play at books that I have read
Till it is time to go to bed.
These are the hills, these are the woods,
These are my starry solitudes;
And there the river by whose brink
The roaring lions come to drink.
I see the others far away
As if in firelit camp they lay,
And I, like to an Indian scout,
Around their party prowled about.
So when my nurse comes in for me,
Home I return across the sea,
And go to bed with backward looks
At my dear land of Story-books.”
by Robert Louis Stevenson