Monday, December 16, 2013

Third Day of Christmas

     Presents come to you in different forms.  Already Christmas has been packed with such abundance, you can't imagine.

Wildlife.  In our pretty little city, we're just on the cusp of the mountains to the east and the north, and the dessert to the south and the West.  So wildlife come calling fairly frequently.  Three deer came through our V.A. hospital grounds and wound up on a downtown street.  Three teen-aged boys were trying to herd deer in downtown traffic with shouts of real joy and purpose.  You should have seen their glowing faces as they got the deer to safety.                                                                                                                                

Next up, geese.  Honking, hissing, pooping geese come to our town in early winter.  We're a stopping off point on their migration routes between the Arctic and Mexico.  Every wide expanse of grass, like a baseball diamond, has hundreds if not thousands of the birds.  I really love them when they land, coming in on those low, slow spirals.  They are a presence.  For sure.

Next, a little golden fox sprinted across my front yard when I got home.  Now I know what it means to high-tail it. They are  endearing as they sit for awhile and watch me walk across their landscape.  Love those little guys too.

So Christmas pageants. This is the big, city-wide Christmas celebration that our church presents for the community.  They hosts about a thousand people for each service, and there are three services.  Grand events, each one of them.  The church is awash in candle light, and every choir  sings a song, even the 3- and 4-year-olds.  Their scrubbed-until-they-are-gleaming little faces are enough for tears, and it's so fun to watch the proud, and a little bit watchful, parents.  Such a rite of passage.
Paul, our own personal music man, writes, directs, and publishes beautiful, powerful pieces for large choirs  and small orchestras—just the right number of people for our smallish choir space and altar.  Paul's music is majestic, beautiful, full of passion and grace.  It truly does take the heart and refuses to give it back.  He's been rough on batons, lately, and broke another one because it got caught in the  collar  of his tux—while he was wearing it.

Then on Sunday  morning I got to talk to Mary and her parents.  Mary is my nephew Scott's girlfriend, and we love her already.  She is such a solid citizen, such a love, such a way-smart student.  It's too soon and they are young just yet.  But I'm hoping for a long lasting, brilliant relationship.

And literary Christmas parties.  Two friends of mine, Rita and Judy, published significant books in the same month: The Blue Doorknob and The Angel of Esperanca. Both are books that have been decades in the making.  Both women have had life-altering health and family issues that lasted years, so the writing came and went, and then came again.  Rita was off to a signing at a local book shop, and Judy came to read to us.  It was at Sue's lovely house on the river, and we have just enough snow to claim winter.  The whole house was adorned with Christmas, coming in heavy on the scents of carrot and sweet potato stew with a little curry and ginger, a roasted winter vegg salad, breads with a lovely crust, and my own little oat and cranberry cookies, which were so delicate and light.  All of that and a little champagne to toast these two magnificent writers.

Then there was Julie, whom you may know had a big  bout with cancer.  She'd had a questionable blood test a while back.  Turned out there was an itty-bitty cancer, which could be taken care of with an uptake in meds. It's not going to upset  Julie's life in any way.  Scared us into next year, those things do.  She's OK.

My job this week was to take a couple of Christmas boxes to Inga.  Inga is a shut-in, her family is in another town.  Our church sent out nearly 250 (about $70 each)  of those boxes to people who need them.  I kept hauling in stuff, hauling in stuff, hauling in stuff.  Inga, who lives on her social security check, was stunned.  "This will feed me for three months," she said.  "I love all of it."

If that was not enough, my church family took me out for dinner to celebrate my 66th birthday.   And my family family did the same thing, only we celebrated at home. Both kids were home.  Just the best.

Beautiful, beautiful, a thousand times beautiful.