The Eve is like the very end of a mad race. I'm almost there! Almost, but not quite. Hurry up, get it done, do it right, it's a big one, do it well, watch your step, it matters!
But the Day (Christmas Day) forgives it all. It’s too late to feel the burden of wanting to be a better human being. You've arrived, you're settling in at the theater. You can't change a thing. Turn on the lights, throw on the bacon, wake the kids (not kids anymore, but oh well, they're sleeping nonetheless) and let it all roll forward.
A snowflake on spice cake. It doesn’t make an appearance every year. Sometimes we just don’t have time. This year, a daughter did the cut-out and there it was.
I used to love Christmas Eve to pieces, but with time, I’ve switched. It’s the Day that holds the greatest bounty. When did the change happen? When I realized that watching my girls do a puzzle together is possibly the most beautiful sight in the world? (I’m watching them now.)
In the early afternoon, I go to the sheepshed to touch base with the person who has never thought much about holidays. The approach is always lovely...
...and more often than not, you can watch wild things (gobble gobble) move in and out of the forest.
We take a walk up the Nature Conservancy path just up the road and round the bend. The drifts of snow are deep enough to wet my pants and send icy coldness into my boots.
No matter. The sun is out and everything feels fresh. A dog runs to us across a frozen sheet of snow. Tail wagging, tongue out, a moving picture of exuberant joy. It’s a great stretch of land, isn’t it? -- her owner reflects.
The evening is food based. Cornish hens, causing the smoke detector to shriek, Yule log, requiring a loosening of the pants.
The sun has set on a beautiful sky of pumpkin clouds. The stars come out in twos, threes, then dozens, as we walk down to see a late show. I sip an espresso and listen to the clever dialogue of people way younger than you or I ("Juno"). And that's a good thing, because I want to believe that the younger generation will be more clever and witty and wise than any of us is, or was ever destined to be.
We laugh hard, and some of us sniffle now and then and on the walk back to the condo, we proclaim it to be a fine Christmas.
Goodnight sweet, forgiving Day. You're the best.