Once again I find myself sitting in the local coffee shop starting a new winter holiday letter. Time seems to slide along regardless of my intentions. This year I’ve tried to focus on the moments as they pass. Because you cannot stop them. And I also never stop, other than when I’m sleeping. Each moment is a whirlwind of activity or a tumult of worried thoughts. Meanwhile the clock ticks and precious moments pass. I have begun purposely to stop: to sit still and notice what that feels like. It’s a strange sensation that can be hard to hold on to. But I’m getting better at it, and in that time I have added a soupçon of joy to my day. This practice has inspired me to nurture myself by singing, drawing, reading, listening to music, walking, sitting at a window and bird watching—or even writing!
Most days before dawn this winter I have looked out at the southern sky from my bedroom window. Multiple planets and constellations hang there. The brightest star is Antares, part of the constellation Scorpius. Starting in December Mercury, Venus and Saturn gather near Antares, to be joined by Mars in late January just as Venus is plunging down below the horizon. The crescent moon itself descended through the sky in early December until it passed Venus and Saturn, then faded completely as it moved out of the path of sunlight shining from the other side of the earth. As morning came on, the sun flooded the sky with pinks, reds, oranges, and a shimmer of pearl. Afterwards, I set to writing.
The holiday season was filled with the usual things: covering the evergreens with blue LED lights in the front yard and solar lights in the back yard, making a wreath from yard scraps and last year’s ribbons, setting up the artificial tree inside and hanging all the ornaments I have collected or been gifted over the years, baking cookies and caroling, then packing up cookies and other gifts and sending them off to family. But this year, we had the addition of a Christmas Vole: he camped out in our basement starting two weeks before Christmas. Occasionally, we would see him skittering from the basement door to the kitchen where he hid beneath the stove. After a month Dave was able to trap him with sunflower kernels and release him by the creek.
New Year’s was also eventful: We rediscovered Roxy Music and had so much fun listening to a couple of their albums while chatting and drinking local microbrews. Dave also made timpano at my request, and we ate it while watching Stanley Tucci’s BIG NIGHT. Good movie to watch while you are eating. Not so much if you aren’t: you will be hungry by the time the movie finishes.
This year Dave and I have found joy together in seemingly small things. We acquired a painting for the master bedroom after almost thirty years of searching. It now hangs above the bed on a wall that had been unadorned since we moved in. In our previous house, the space above the bed was occupied by my print of The Lovers by Klimt. The Klimt had hung in my apartment before we were married. I thought it was beautiful: the gold leaf and geometric patterns mixed with flowers, and the passionate embrace of the couple, brought me joy. Dave did not like the print so, out of a sense of fairness (he had put up with it for five years), when we were packing up to move again, I gave it away to friends. We vowed to visit art galleries once we were in Boulder and find a painting we BOTH liked for our new place. It was ten years before we found such a painting: No Food for Lazy Man by Kayeni from Ghana. It represents our philosophy of life, but it is not a bedroom painting and hangs in our foyer. We kept our eyes open for ten more years, buying smaller pieces that we scattered about the house: mountainscapes, Boulder Pearl Street Mall scenes by local artist Mike Brouse, photographs of birds (some of Dave’s) and beautiful stain glass panes made by our friend Julie Golden. But nothing that fit in the master bedroom. Then I saw a new painting by Mike called Connection: Two figures, a man and a woman, walking away from the viewer and physically separate, but with their bodies leaning in towards each other. When Dave saw it he said “Yes!” and Mike kindly painted a version of it in earth tones to match our bedroom décor. Add to that the floating oak frame Dave made, and the result is stunning. You can see a picture of it here.
We hope you are having a joyous 2019 so far. See you in the funny papers! (Mine are here. ;) )