A few days ago I stopped over at my mom’s house for a visit. As I walked up to her door I noticed she still had her autumnal bunch of purple corn on her front door (how gauche!). She said, ‘yes, yes, I know, I need a wreath.’ I looked around and sure enough everyone had a wreath on their door. (Full disclosure: there were a few doors with shamrocks on them, but I imagine that’s a year-round thing for them.) It seemed as if everyone was getting in the holiday spirit but my mom’s place was lagging behind. Well, that I simply could not abide.
*Lyrics from Baby It’s Cold Outside as sung by Doris Day and Bing Crosby. There is nothing more comforting in winter than cozying up to old black and white movies or listening to old black and white songs.
December is a month loaded with obligations, expectations and often times disappointment. The build-up for the single greatest day of the year (be it Christmas or New Year’s Eve) can often leave people feeling like, “Really? That’s it?” I have been known to feel that way a time or two (or a dozen). It’s only natural to sense the anticipation around you, and to feel the optimism creeping in when thinking about the promise of a brand new year. And, having been raised to celebrate the most basic bits from Christmas (all the non-religious stuff) – the tree, the gift giving, the time with family, the sparkly lights, the hand made crafts – this time of year usually holds a special spot in my heart. I have to admit, however, to not really feeling into it this year.
Autumn in New England can be spectacularly beautiful – bright, boldly colored leaves drift through the air as the trees molt into their naked winter selves, surrounded by warm sunshine-filled afternoons, followed by chilly evenings and early morning frosts. But it can also teeter toward the depressing… day after day the light slips away, darkening the already dulled landscape not yet illuminated by the cast of white snow that winter usually deposits and leaves there for month after month. Autumn slips into winter almost unnoticed as one holiday (Thanksgiving) is replaced by the almighty holiday of holidays (Christmas). And while I love a good fairy light (or twinkle light, or whatever you want to call them) I also love autumn, including the darkening, the hibernation-like feeling, beckoning a time of reflection and contemplation. Of course gratitude is also a focus of fall – gratitude for family and friends, for the life we lead, for the harvest, for the earth, for the process.