Enjoying Christmas…for a few days more

Aside

 

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“There is more to life than increasing its speed” -Ghandi

It has been a busy and exhausting couple of months. Losing a family member suddenly and without warning brings life to a sudden stop. Everyday tasks, schedules, work responsibilities and other commitments come to a grinding halt. You persevere, forge on and take care of what needs to be with the best you can give to such situations. But this is not what this posting is about.  It is about enjoying Christmas for a few days more.

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Christmas was just two short days ago and already I am seeing social media postings about taking down the tree and putting all decorations away. It is no different that seeing the same kind of postings in November only the opposite-who is getting their tree up and putting lights on the outside of homes. My first thought was this: “Why can’t we enjoy Christmas for a few days more?” It all comes to a finality on December 26th. Yes, it is done, over with for another year.  And then I read the quote above by Gandhi and wonder why the rush to take it all down? I do realize that it is necessary due to personal preferences and time constraints. Two years ago, Christmas had to end for us on December 26th as a emergency kitchen floor renovation needed to begin on December 27th. And it was depressing, I will admit to see everything packed up and done for another year.

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You see, I live in a small town nestled against the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. I live where the biggest star in the world ( historical fact) shines from the Saturday after Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve. It’s light shines for miles in all directions. The Bright Star of Palmer Lake has shone each holiday season for 82 years. (Please see about the Star in the book titled ‘Bright Star of Palmer Lake’ available on Amazon.) It does not shut off on December 26th just because Christmas is over and neither does my Christmas lights.

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Photo by Aaron Jurka, Mountain Tapestry Press, LLC

I want to extend the memories of Christmas for just a few more days. Yes, they will be held in our hearts and minds for years to come. I want the quiet moments of drinking cups of tea and become absorbed into a new book that was a Christmas gift. I have no need or desire to do post-Christmas sales. But this year, it is the moments of memories that were made by family and friends that I do not want to rush away.

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In the closing days of December and all of 2017, quiet reflection and slowing down for a few moments can do wonders. There is time to pack up Christmas and turn to normalcy but I don’t want to hurry it up just because others are doing so. In the poem “Waiting for Christmas”, I believe I convey the quietness of the winter season:

A Walk in Wintered Woods

Almost evening, the winter sunlight fades

through darkened aspen and pine.

The tranquility of two white tailed deer

grazing through snow is interrupted

by the creaking of branches in a brisk,

twenty degree December wind.

The silent flight of a hawk disappears;

only to pop back into my view as it circles

over the mountains blanketed in thick, quilted snow.

There is no path here; the wintered woods

lie ahead in deep shadows.

I stand still listening to this land call out

its life to me; the woodland loner now

warmed with the peaceful wonder of falling snowflakes

upon my Christmas mittens.

Christmas Dawn

This poem, written and published in my first poetry collection titled ‘Journey On: Beauty and Grit Along the Way, is accompanied by a translation into Latvian.
 

Christmas Dawn 
 
I awake in the Christmas dawn light; 
a shimmering snowfall 

echoes upon the mountains. 
Through parted curtains,  

my curious eyes follow 
a shaking of snow 

from pine needled branches. 
 
An opera of sun slowly takes over; 
erasing long blue gray shadows. 
We lie under the soft warmth 

of the red plaid comforter, 
meeting the moment  

of a gentle and tender us. 

 
 

Ziemassvētku Ausma 

(Latvian) 

 

Es pamostos Ziemassvētku ausmas gaisma; 

spīdīgs sniegputenis atbalsojas kalnos. 

Ar šķīrušiem aizkariemmanas interesantas acis seko 

sniega raupšana no priedes adatas zariem. 

 

Saules lāva pārņem opera; 

dzēšot garas zilas pelēkas ēnas. 

Mēs gulējam zem sarkanā pleds mierīgā siltā siltuma, 

satikties ar maigu un maigu mirkli. 

The Workbench

The Workbench

After the burial, I walk up to the old white clapboard house
and peer with cupped hands into a cobwebbed cellar window.
Inside the dank and musty interior,
I see my grandfather’s once vital workbench
ghostlike, scarcely lit by streaks of powdered April sunshine.
His step stool once too big for me,
seems to smile at me in the quiet.
I can hear his work shoes clomp down the cellar steps;
see his aged fingers flicking on the switch of a fluorescent light
rippling the darkness with blue white tint.

My grandfather gently picks through a muddle of
worn down wooden handled hammers,
screwdrivers spattered with drops of red and white,
scratched wrenches, gunmetal gray pliers mingle
with baby food jars filled with nails, wood screws, washers.
Tools with meaning only to him.
I miss him every time I think of the doll bed
he made for me one Christmas
out of old maple scraps from his Canadian woods.
I still believe Santa needed his help.

Clouds part to reveal patches of blue sky,
late winter snows are scraps of white on murky brown land.
With water-filled eyes, I set aside my memories,
wave a little girl goodbye to the workbench.
More smiles will come.

Late Afternoon in Early Winter

The wood stove fire burns slowly,
warmth seeps into ridges of a red fleece blanket
that adorns my shivering shoulders.
Outside the snow softly falls,
swirls of silver and white cover
autumn into bare branched silence.

North winds howl,
white tailed deer scrape snow on their tongues
on a late afternoon in early winter.
Caught in high country silence,
I sit and wonder, will we ever dance together again,
one more time embrace
the soft rustlings of our mountain love.

The late afternoon begins to dim;
Night fall trails and gives way to the gray violet of snowy dusk.
I listen for your voice to echo down the high country ridge;
a gesture of your long awaited return home.
Outside the mountain settles into an early winter,
the deer and I wait for December snows to end,
and the passes to clear,
and embrace the pale glimmer of morning.