Monday, December 01, 2014


from one holiday to the next

December arrived so quickly this year, holy crackers what happened?  Must've been the three big snowstorms we had here.  They tend to keep one focused on the present moment quite nicely (I wrote icely at first, which seems appropriate), as survival instincts take over and time bends strangely.

Speaking of time, I have not had much to spare today, but since it's the first of December I wanted to make mention of the tradition of advent calendars.  I've always loved their little windows of hope, small surprises, daily treasure.  They remind me of pop-up books, with their ingeniousness and general spirit of invention.  I remember one from childhood that even had tiny edible treats behind each door.  Another favorite had little toys.  And for the past few years I've used this gentle one, from Maine artist Anne Kilham.  It reminds me of long ago, and of the old Maine houses I love, and winter fields, and the quietness of the season, as we approach the winter solstice and Christmas time.  I don't mind using the same advent calendar from year to year, in fact it feels appropriate, in the way that unpacking beloved ornaments does.

However, a few days ago Ryan and I found ourselves at a bookstore (two bookstores actually, but who's counting), and after we each cased the place we met in the middle and he was holding this.  I said, "Ohhh but we already have an advent calendar."  (Longingly.)  He said, "But we need this one too."  (In a voice that means No debate.)  So it came home with us, along with - need it be said? - several books, and tonight we will open its first door and see what sweet bookish item of note the good people at the Bodleian have chosen to share with us.  I will still use my old calendar too, no worries there.  I'm set in my ways, and besides, I'm still giving thanks today and both of them will serve as excellent reminders to keep right on doing so, as we move ever more steadily into winter.

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