I woke up this morning to the silence of a house without power. It wasn’t unexpected. Around 5:00 I decided to get up and stoke the wood stove, try to get things together for coffee without a coffee maker. As I walked down the stairs the lights came on, the furnace fired up and within minutes coffee was hot in my cup. Ahh, little gifts.
The anticipation of this holiday always keeps me awake the night before. It’s a throwback from childhood when family gathered at the house for food, fun and the Macy’s parade. Most of these relatives I only saw once or twice a year. I loved being surrounded by people who loved me, what child doesn’t?
While lying awake I considered all that I was thankful for, an exercise that I do fairly often. It keeps things in perspective. Albert Einstein once said, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” I try to look at everything as being a miracle.
The thing that continues to come into my head as both a miracle and something I am profoundly thankful for is my ongoing reunion with Scott. It’s been difficult to wrap my head around having a son that is back in my life. Left as an infant, returned as an adult. Bone of my bone flesh of my flesh. Someone who has been with me through most of my life’s journey in spirit yet I was the only one that knew it.
My daughters bringing him into the fold – slowly, cautiously at first then with open arms. They speak of him with love and amazement at the similarities only relatives have. My husband helping me work through the demons that have followed me from one lifetime to another. My friends that continually point out what an amazing story this all is. A miracle in many, many ways.
Look around you today, take notice of those miracles – those little gifts. The beauty of the snow, the birds that grace our feeders, the fox tracks through the yard. Look at the smiles on the faces of those you love. Treasure those messages from those unable to join you for the holiday. Remember those that have gone before you that made the traditions you celebrate now.
Everything is a miracle.
I often post photographs of the sunrise over the weathervane in Rowe but today’s feels a little different. After much prep I am here full time. It’s not exactly the way I had anticipated this all happening over the years but really, how many of us can say that things turn out the way we planned?
I understand that I am more than fortunate to be able to do this in a place that is so special to me. It’s not so much the house or property but the spirit of a place that’s been my home for well over 50 years. I have lived in other places for much, much longer than the cumulative number of years I’ve lived in Rowe but there is no other place that I feel calmer, safer than here.
The bedroom I’m currently occupying faces east. I chose this one for the sole reason of seeing the sunrise in the morning. I just situated the bed so the sun wouldn’t shine right in my eyes should I oversleep and miss it peeking over the horizon. I also crack the window open a bit before I go to bed to have the frogs lull me to sleep at night and the birds wake me up in the morning. To me there is no better way to end or start a day.
The move went like clockwork, my father is settling into his home of almost 50 years. He slept late and commented on how he hasn’t slept that well in 2 years. Although he will miss the people who surrounded him in his time away I can’t help but think this will be healing in its own way. Rowe is so much more home to him and Fort Pelham Farm is what he brought into my life.
I got up at 7:30 this morning and wasn’t able to see out of the windows in the house. The temperature had risen from 41 degrees when I went to bed to 52 degrees now and the wind was gusting up to 30 mph. Every window in the house was fogged with only one in the corner of the patio having a little visibility. In looking out of it what I saw was banks of fog rolling through the fields, swirling about like I see the snow doing on those windy winter days. Well, it was beautiful a day or so ago. Now I’m afraid Christmas is going to look more like mud season. Sigh.
From year to year I always dream about how I can make my home as warm and festive as possible for my guests. Snow always enters into the picture because in my mind is always that Norman Rockwell ideal. Truth be told the snow doesn’t matter that much. It does during the day when I look out the windows as I’m doing my preps for the big Christmas eve dinner – it helps me feel the mood. When the appointed time arrives and the candles are lit along with the fireplaces and everything is bathed in the glow of firelight it is Christmas.
Having an old, old house helps to bring back the Christmases we all envision in our heads (at least I do). Mulled cider, roasted meats and vegetables, candied fruit, cookies, music and laughter. The only thing that’s changed is the wardrobe. I try to treat my guests to the best I can do mixing traditional and expected with some sort of culinary surprise. Years later they still talk about my “Seven Swans a Swimming” dessert which involved petit choux swans filled with ice cream swimming in pools of chocolate. I must admit they were pretty spectacular.
It’s the little things, the details.
After the day I will post what I have in mind right now for the surprise. We’ll see if it gets pulled off. Meanwhile I will just hope for a little less fog so I can make my way for ingredients.