(Written a few days ago, during the first snow of this season.)
It’s 5-ish in the morning. A “snow day.” A surprising slow-down in the midst of Advent, preparing for the coming Christmas celebration. The activities of this day will be a bit different from those planned on the calendar! Perhaps we will complete the decorating, actually putting up our Christmas tree together. And toting the boxes, now empty of their stored decorations, back to the garage. We will prepare meals together – no sense in trying the normal “eating out on the run” scenario.
The only things missing are the normal “warm factor” commodities such as kids and grandkids, and a fire in the fireplace. The firewood has finally been depleted and the chimney sweep is coming in a few days – all in preparation for the installation of gas logs. Such logs were in place when we moved into this house (was it really 10 years ago this week!!?). As we set up house keeping in this new home,I adamantly had those fakes removed (“We will be using the real things! Thank you very much!” I thought.). For ten years, we have stacked firewood, hauled logs into the house, swept up over and over … and enjoyed the warmth and smell of real wood fires. Almost like sitting around the campfire,
Ah, but this pleasure is about to bite the dust, much as the “real” Christmas tree did after our children flew the nest. Hauling logs is no longer easy. Even bending down to build and light the fire has become an issue. (Old age has it perks, but this is not one of them!). In fact, decorating and Christmas baking have been scaled back, in direct proportion to my current energy.
Of course, the fruitcake recipe is lying out on the counter with the growing collection of ingredients necessary for concocting the “George Rodgers” recipe (Thanks, Dad!). There are plans for a couple of our traditional coffee rings as well,but who knows if they will actually come to fruition. There actually won’t be any baking today – lacking some ingredients and heavy snow means possible power outages. So, like so many of our plans and traditions, many of today’s activities are in a dynamic state of “hold until things are stable again.”
So, what to do with today? With the power still intact, I can fire up the sewing machine to finish a couple of Christmas projects. I can complete my gift list by shopping on line. I can be totally lazy in my recliner, reading and dozing the day away. I can dig out the camera and try to capture the beauty just outside my window. Lots of possibilities. Limited mainly by soreness from an automobile wreck 5 weeks ago (Who knew it would take so loooooooong to get over that trauma?).
Whatever this or any future days may bring, I face them with a strange mix of sobriety and mirth. I was “lucky” five weeks ago. Or “blessed” or something. There is much healing left to do, in both body and spirit, but at least I am here. The events in recent weeks have confirmed much of what I already knew: Live each day to the fullest, because it may be your last. Family and friends – relationships are by far the most valuable “thing” in life. “Wasted” time is not necessarily lost time. Savoring one’s life, just like savoring hot, home-made soup, is highly important, for it nourishes our very souls.
I am giddy with the possibilities that life still holds, yet sobered with the realities that things change as I age. I still have the same choices as when I was a young adult: will I allow the negative forces to surround me, holding me captive in an ever- restrictive web, or will I continue to follow dreams? Will I rest on my laurels, or will I keep following the “road less traveled by”? Much to contemplate. Good thing I am moving slower, so I have time to think!
I love snow days!