I sit here looking out the big picture window in my office. The sky is milky gray as is the ground with it's snow cover. The birches stand proud in this afternoon light with black spreading branches. On one of the branches sits a vibrant red dot ... a male cardinal. I feel awe for his splash of color on this gray day.
The air smells of snow. But not for long. There is warm air circulating in the south that will bend and wind it's way up to us Northerners just in time for Christmas Eve, bringing with it record high temperatures and "heavy rains at times". I'm dreaming of a white Christmas.
This is my favorite holiday. I don't get caught up in the buying and craziness of shopping. My family gave up gifting years ago; we all have far too much stuff anyway. But I love the lights, the carols and the fun of giving a gift because it's right, because I can, not because I must.
A lot of people struggle with Christmas. It comes wrapped with memories of all the magic that once was or should have been. Those who struggle to find that glitter and gold again end up feeling lost and lonely. Those who never had it find themselves questioning what it's all about and feel anger and depression.
This time of year now carries a darker side for me too. I get melancholy at times and very moody. As much as I want to escape the beast who lays low most of the time now it constantly circles and surfaces to brush a fin on my conscious and stir up the memories of a diagnosis on December 27th and a birthday on January 3. It doesn't last as long these days and the pain isn't as deep or aching ... more of a paper cut to the heart that is quick, shallow with some sting to it.
And just as suddenly I can look at all the grace this life has brought to me. How lucky I am. There are lights on the tree that we cut and hauled off our land. There were carolers ... "out in the snow" ... one evening at our front door. Of course Dave and I sang along with them. And there are presents under our tree. There is love in my heart and my life and a whole new world to explore in these mountains.
The cardinal is back. He acts as a reminder that even the smallest bright spot, if noticed, if honored, can light up the darkest day.
There is always magic in the air, and miracles too, this time of year.
Loving you all back,