I bought myself Mary Oliver's new essay collection for Christmas. Of one winter, she writes, "there was so much darkness. Darkness of nature, darkness of event, darkness of spirit. The sprawling darkness of not knowing..." Sound familiar? Then she writes of the light of faith or perhaps hope-- she's not sure what to call it-- that comes from that darkness, and even requires it, in a way, in order to be seen.
...my true love gave to me, four calling birds.
Is anyone ever really ready for Christmas?( I mean this in big and little picture ways. ) I woke at five saying, "I have to bake four coffee cakes!" Then I counted heads for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and decided to wash the napkins. I didn't have enough eggs. I also do not have a gift for my husband, who says he has everything he needs and means it, which is why I love him. "Socks", I say to the dog who looks worried, as if I have decided to get us a Christmas kitten.
It really is lovely, in the rainy windy wet dark way that can be December in Haines, and walking on the beach yesterday made me feel "hale" like those young men in A Child's Christmas in Wales. I have a cold, so have been sleeping and reading more, in between manic bouts of holiday cheer.Yesterday, the four little granddaughters (ages 3-6) came by for a Christmas brunch. I served pancakes, raspberries, and whipped cream on my mother's good China with the Messiah playing. I also wore my mother's Pearls.
Saturday morning I filled a box of homemade cookies-by-the pound to get ahead with my "baking" and support the Salvation Army, walked in the snow to the last holiday craft bazaar at the ANB Hall, and found some nice soap and candles, bread and chocolate, and a maple leaf ornament, ran home, ate a little lunch and snow-shoed in the still-falling snow ( perfect- soft and fluffy and 20 degrees) up to Lily Lake.
"How necessary it is to cultivate a spirit of joy. It is a psychological truth that the physical acts of reverence and devotion make one feel devout. The courteous gesture increases one's respect for others. To act lovingly is to begin to feel loving, and certainly to act joyfully brings joy to others which in turn makes one feel joyful. I believe we are called to the duty of delight." -Dorothy Day
When I wrote my first book I was run over by a truck. Literally. So I'm used to how the universe encourages humility and emphasizes what really matters. While my daughter was in labor last Friday, one of the many calls to my cell phone was a number I didn't recognize.
My friend Teresa came by to meet little Miss Molly before we both left for home in Haines on the ferry yesterday.
Teresa wedged about a dozen totes and coolers on the only baggage cart (what was the ferry thinking?) that were mostly full of her husband Larry's dead deer from hunting in Tenakee. It was one of those only in Alaska moments as they hefted them on the cart in between suitcases, duffels, and Christmas packages.
"Give us grateful hearts, our Father, for all thy mercies, and
make us mindful of the needs of others; through Jesus Christ
our Lord. Amen." -- from the Book of Common Prayer
Little Molly Frances is here! ( All 6. lbs.15 oz and 19 inches... and what about her hair? Well, It has a reddish tinge.. so time will tell.) Mother and baby are well.
The rest of us are too.Having a December baby makes singing "Joy to the World" that much better.