I have traversed the East coast, from North to South, for this holiday story. This is a tale as simple as a Wintertide visit to my parents, but it also involves rediscovering so much more.
In this place there is much to see an do. There are the bygone Christmas gestures, probably made more authentic in purpose because this year, we will not be giving any gifts. This is an extension of last year's pledge, at least on my end as the creative daughter, to hand-make all of the presents. With a little prep-work and planning, that little dream did come true. However, what's become clear this year that we simply don't need gifts and, in fact, we have a surplus of goods at our house; my BLOG SALE (they are here and here) is not only one little way for me to fund the farm-and-horse-and-wag
on-tour, but one way to help clear the house of "too much of a good thing."
Even without the holiday gift hustling, there is still frenetic energy here, as I've extended my art making to the yearly to do list.
These two go off to visit a publisher:
The Owl and The Pussy-Cat, in wood....
Springtime Art Doll Rabbit....
And this wood burned spoon is the very last creation of the year, and will be up for sale tomorrow:
Does it seem strange that I'm a bit melancholy over the finishing of this last piece of the year? I do enjoy creating these humble art pieces, but this self-imposed deadline will allow me to actually enjoy the holidays in their present moments. This means a high mix of emotions.....
There is sublime splendor, with a certain bit of poignancy. Every year I return, I am awed at how my parents--the giants who took care of me with strong hands--seem more and more impossibly frail. Even now, there is something sobering in dealing with these wizened people in their third act, and realizing we all, young, are destined to follow in the slow footsteps towards elderliness. It is precious, this holiday, a time to hold the flesh-and-blood people who may simply become a memory at any moment.
There is unyeilding kindness, which I think has been rattled out of the world, lately. Call me an idealist, but so much seems rough 'round the edges, the ethics and ethos of people are...well, I don't know, but I find it startling when even Christmas has become controversial.
In this house Christmas and in fact, every day, revolves around and involves much of the world. Our family tree has some long and interesting roots, folks. You can traverse various continents, histories, and stories along them. That long gypsy path meant that somewhere, some one--or many--had to overlook differences in culture, language and customs, and learn to love and work with other people.
Christmas here is no different. Our nostalgia embraces many religions and traditions, the Olde European, the Pagan, Christian, Jewish and "folken" ways. All of them seem as legitimate as the next.
We bake highly sugared foods that my mother and her mother have baked, recipes with a hundred year European pedigree. We watch Christmas fare on television, play old Nat King Cole Christmas tunes. The Christmas tree has been festooned with heirloom ornaments. We will celebrate the season as we have always celebrated; my mother, raised amongst her Roman Catholic brethren, will watch Midnight Mass and we will join her, we will say "Happy Chanukkah" to our Jewish friends, and attend Kwanzaa celebration with our friends who celebrate that fine holiday. We will sing old fashioned carols too loud, and most probably out of pitch. We will help my mother clean the forever dusty house, herding dust bunnies to the best of our abilities. We will go across the street, to the little forest there, and try to procure a Yule log. We will eat and laugh too much. You see, Christmas is for everyone, everywhere, and about many holidays, many traditions, many beliefs, from it's old Pagan Yule,past, to it's German Christmas tree origins, to it's modern versions. As practiced in kindeness, I feel in my heart it is all right....and it is alright.
Somewhere in there, I will find some time aboard a large, kind horse and I will learn to ride in style. I've already sent out a few ads, but I am sad to say not lots of folks are biting: one stable even mentioned they stopped teaching lessons because, due to the economy, most of their students had to give up their horses, and it made no financial sense to continue training when no one was requesting it.
But all is not lost. In the meantime, I'm taking this big fuzzball--Polly, the adopted Pyranees--out on our ritual walks.
She's one of a long line of rescued beauties in our household, and she is walked around our Southern family neighborhood, when either my sister and I are home. We walk past staid houses and manicured lawns. But turn the corner and we pass a pond filled with ducks...a large open field with golden scrubby fauna and then...off to the right, you'll hear it: the lowing of a cow behind a large wood fence, and the wonky sound of a young rooster trying out his new grown up voice. Somewhere, only two blocks away, someone has a mini-farm. I laugh. This definitely ain't New York City, folks. I dream of my own farms, and what amazing things will happen behind fences, fences opened for people and animals, near and far...
It is the magic of my every day, an Ordinary Day....