Sunday, December 13, 2009


'Tis the season

I found myself standing in the sunlit woods this morning, out behind our house, knee-deep in snow, next to a grove of young balsams, bucksaw over my shoulder. Ready. And after looking, really looking, I just couldn't do it. They were all so beautiful and full of life, straight and green and fragrant, and I wasn't going to be the one to cut any of them down. Truth: I have been known to hug trees.

Not that I am at all consistent, I thought to myself as I tromped empty-handed back to the house, past our giant woodpile (made up, after all, of felled trees). The upshot of all this is that our house remains Christmas-tree-less. I do know that next weekend we will be stringing popcorn and cranberries and draping them festively on something. What that something will be, who knows.

I'm happy to say we do have our gift-gathering complete, save a stop at the local marine supply company for a few items for the boat-owners in the family. Other than that, no more stores. And no more terrible renditions of certain carols I consider sacred, over store loudspeakers. In particular areas I remain a grumpy purist. (In lots of others, rock on.)

Pepys update: I am sad to report that I am only halfway through Volume IV of the Diary. This must have something to do with the fact that today I read a frothy novel by Julian Fellowes instead. Or, while I usually read a few days' worth of Pepys's entries over breakfast, one morning this week I read Now We Are Six, which I must say went down very well with my oatmeal. Worst of all, one evening this week I read Elizabeth Gilbert's book The Last American Man from start to finish. Oh, and last night before bed, I browsed in a great book about the art of Charles M. Schulz. So tonight I am sitting here with Pepys at my elbow, wondering how exactly all these Other Books mysteriously insinuated themselves into the middle of my self-imposed reading program. (I say this, even though I know the answer - as I stated above, Not that I am at all consistent.)

Can't help rising to your Elizabeth Gilbert comment. I tried to read Eat, Pray, Love in Spanish recently--as my first foray into READING Spanish, I wanted vocabulary and rhetoric of food, feeling, travel. I made it through India but was unable to continue--had had far too much of Gilbert's ego and her particular view of life and philosopny. So I jumped to Isabel Allende untranslated (Paula, and La Suma de los Dias)--who has been sheer, continuing delight. To read such style, however haltingly (because how she says what she says leads me to explore words not only in Spanish-English but Spanish-Spanish dictionaries....). This is what winter days are for. Especially now that the last calendula from the garden is fading on the dinner table, and the deer are harvesting the mustard greens. I hope you left the carrots in the garden long enough to truly sweeten.
Must stop--this is purportedly a comment, not a blog. --Pat F in Brooklin
Pat, I thought the best part of "Eat, Pray, Love" was the last part, about love in Bali - but your reaction was similar to my older sister's (she also stopped reading halfway through). How neat that you are learning Spanish this winter...

I shoveled some slush this morning, and saw our calendula still green, in the warm spot by the house foundation. Yes, the carrots are sweet (though really, I don't think the ground is even frozen here yet, so I could have covered them up and left them in even longer).

Write as much as you like, Pat - always good to hear from you! Happy Christmas to you and George.
Have you listened to the Christmas song by the Waitresses lately? It won't make you cut down a tree, but I've found that it improves the spirit.

Thanks for the suggestion, APD...

Ryan found a Charlie Brown tree that didn't stand much of a chance in the spot it was growing. So we do have a balsam in our home, looking twinkly.

My spirits aren't high, but are usually deep instead, this time of year. Hope your Christmas is warm and loving -
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