QQ preparing for a brisk morning walk, with the frost still on the air. We haven't had snow yet, but there were six inches on the plains yesterday. I have to admit, I'm ready. It has been a long, lovely summer and fall, full of more warm weather than one could ask. Now, I'm ready for the season.
Maybe I was feeling a little excited about QQ's first Christmas...about snow and sleighbells and decking the Christmas tree...hence the outfit and the reindeer bell around her neck. Normally, I'm one who believes it's a crime for the merchandisers to start pitching Christmas before Thanksgiving is even a gleam in grandma's eye...but this year...I just can't help myself. I'm getting excited. Who doesn't love their Christmas memories from early childhood? I still drag them out and treasure them like a loveworn teddy every year....the fragrant spruce set in a crockpot full of white river stones, the ornaments my parents had collected from all over the world, my grandmother's glass doves... long, snowbound walks into town, fur around my face, each mittened hand enclosed in one of my parent's gloved hands....the smell of my mother's citrus breads baking, warming the house with fragrant steam, and the lemon icing she would make by hand and drizzle like a light frost over the top of the warm loaves...my father's stiff buckskin work gloves, his quilted red vest with the cross on the back from his days on the ski patrol, and the way he used to muscle the gear shift, keeping the car on the icy, steep Catskill Mountain roads...
QQ's will be different. I wonder how they will go? Different sights, different sounds, different aromas...though the Christmas music on NPR will remain the same...Vivaldi and Strauss, dances from the Nutcracker, and of course Handel's peerless Messiah, which my mother used to sing with the chorus every holiday season in her lovely soprano.
To the classical Christmas music, M. and I have added our tradition of sappy, oldschool holiday tunes from Dean Martin and Bing Crosby. I mean, how can you not? Why wade in the season when you can wallow in it?
Years past, just the two of us in Vail, we would turn down the lights, open a bottle of wine, put on a Brat Pack Christmas album and make a night of decorating the tree, then lie underneath it with all the faerie lights ablaze, watch "How The Grinch Stole Christmas", and fall asleep on the couch. This year will be a bit different, but, dare I say, even more magical. Yup, I'm looking forward to it.
She kind of likes the bell.
Setting out in her fleece bunting...for once, actually happy about a morning walk! It isn't every day I can get her to submit to a stroll in the a.m..
This year, I am particularly in love with berries. How is it that I never noticed them before? Purple and obsidian and every shade of red from deep pink to flame. One beautiful slate-grey Victorian a few blocks down from us has a tree I've particularly admired throughout the fall, as its leaves caught fire, and fell. Now, there is nothing but the round, frosted, festive red fruits clustered on the branches. As we walked by, the owner was working on his lawn. I asked about the tree. He said it's called a Prairie Fire crabapple, and that they were told it would attract songbirds. Well, maybe next year, if I can find one.....
I have been a fan of grasses ever since moving down here from the mountains. They are, after all, particularly suited to the high plains. In autumn, against the grey of the landscape, they take on a particular ephemeral lightness.
How is it that I breezed through so much of my life without appreciating the subtleties of fall and winter? The delicate colors and shifting shades? No matter. I'll spend time appreciating it now.
Back home, inspecting her shadow while mommy unpacks the stroller.