Saturday, December 01, 2018

December 1st

Snowdrop had said to me -- my teacher told me that winter starts in December so Saturday is the first day of winter! The little one is, of course, hoping for snow. But if we had some remaining patches in the morning (on my walk from the barn)...

farmette life-2.jpg

... they were certainly washed away by midday. It rained today. And rained. And rained.

After working for most of the night, Ed slept in. A good day for it! Breakfast is very late.

farmette life-8.jpg

Then it's back to bed for him.

The upside of having him upstairs while I do stuff downstairs is that I can play music. Holiday stuff. It's December after all! It's not that he would ever protest if I played it at other times, but I know that he prefers quiet. Today, I am sending sweet, faint little melodies up to the bedroom. Christmas lullabies.

In the late afternoon I have one small task and one large but lovely assignment.

The small task is to search for a puffer jacket. I had bought the one I wear on a daily basis 13 years ago and the stitching is starting to fail. I leave a trail of feathers wherever I go. I want one that will last me at least a dozen years going forward. I google "best puffer jacket." I read tons of reviews. I buy one on line. When I open the package, I find something so thin, so so lightweight, that I feel I am holding a jacket for a cool summer evening. I will send it back.

And so I go to our old reliable REI (sporting goods) store, where there are real people, ready to sell me real jackets. I tell the sales person -- I bought one on line, here, this one! But it's so thin! Would you believe that it got good rating for warmth? I need something that will do the job for just below freezing temps. Like the one I'm wearing, only not with holes and feathers floating every which way.

She looks at me, appears to do a mental calculation of my age, then tactfully responds -- we do in fact sell those thicker ones. People sometimes like the retro look...
Retro look? I should think that what I have is simply warmer.
No, just bulkier. We've moved away from that...

When I was significantly younger, I used to look at seniors in their quaintly dated apparel and wonder -- at what point do you stop noticing that you are no longer fashionable? I know the answer now -- some time way before 65.

My large and lovely assignment for today? It's to go over to the young family's house and help decorate their big tree.

Two things again highlight for me the passage of time: first -- it's the growing simplicity of the task before us. I wonder if we even pay attention to the fact how, incrementally, so many tough chores have been made easier... Take the lights: ages ago, we put things on the tree that threatened to burn the house down. Indeed, they probably did burn many a house down.

Along came electric lights. They were nice and hot, though at least we were done with the open flames. But the tree -- oh, how quickly it would dry from the heat of those lamps! (Don't keep the lights burning! Just one hour tonight, then turn them off! The tree will be a total stick before Christmas!)

Then came the LEDs. Cold. And in the last year -- cheap and bright. And unbreakable. No more shattered glass bulbs. No more rules about when to keep them burning. String them around -- you're done.

The second realization that time indeed is pushing us forward (so often in the best of ways) came when it was time to actually decorate the tree.

Back in the days when my girls were little, I loved the tree trimming evening. Christmas was of course the piece de resistance, but tree trimming had a quiet beauty to it that to me was just sublime. I'd bring out tree trimming snacks. The record player would work through a stack of Christmas vinyls, then in later years -- CDs (such progress! so much easier!), boxes of familiar ornaments would come out... it was all so very special. My daughters grew to love it as well and now comes the next generation, embracing this day as if it were the most glorious of them all. Here are just a few  photos from tonight. At the beginning, Sparrow is still napping. Toward the end, he is with us.

(Snacks are out: cheeses, prosciutto, gingerbread. Popcorn. Cider simmering, with spices. Sparkling wine for those who love sparkling wine.)

farmette life-19.jpg

(Snowdrop comes up, sees the tree, runs for the two new ornaments that always begin the trimming. She is so fast, that I miss her first placement. I catch this second one.)

farmette life-32.jpg

farmette life-53.jpg

(A stool helps her reach the higher places...)

farmette life-74.jpg

(Taking a pause: she is coming off of two play dates today. Plus, she is anxious to put the ribbon on top. Lucas, the cat, rests as well, for no good reason.)

farmette life-78.jpg

Tree done.

farmette life-100.jpg

Happy, happy girl!

farmette life-130.jpg

(Sparrow is up!)

 farmette life-188.jpg

(How about a Christmas story?)

farmette life-225.jpg

A couple of slices of pizza later, we're done.

Back at the farmhouse now. I hear hail on the rooftop. I hear the winds. But, inside, we're snug, happy, grateful.