Monday, December 28, 2009

New Year Haiku

Of Gods and Astrology

Janus and Pisces
look both ahead and behind.
The old is made new.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tis the season...

1. Apple cider, eggnog, or hot chocolate?

Yes, please. Let’s warm the apple cider and swirl a cinnamon stick in it, sprinkle the eggnog with a generous dash of nutmeg, and drop a puff of whipped cream or marshmallow fluff in the hot chocolate while we’re at it.

2. Turkey or Ham?

Erm… yes, please. Why make a choice between the two when you can have both? But, keep these two meats for pre-and post Christmas Day sandwiches, please. I like Roast Beast for Christmas dinner.

3. Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree?

The jolly old elf sets them in my hands and I wrap them.

4. Colored lights or white on the tree?

Oh colors, please! Blue, red, green, gold – lights are the reason I still keep setting up a tree, even though I live alone in a tiny space.

5. Do you get a fake or real-you-cut-it-yourself Christmas tree?

All my trees have been real. Most of them I’ve tromped into the woods to cut down myself, but now and then, when I can afford it, I buy one whose roots are wrapped in burlap for planting after the holiday season is over.

6. Favorite Christmas song?

Manheim Steam Roller produced a Christmas album some years ago that is still my favorite. Next come Brenda Lee’s Rockin Around the Christmas Tree and Elvis’s Blue Christmas (can you tell what era I grew up in?). My favorite carols are Silent Night and Away In A Manger (holdovers from a happy but Catholic childhood).

7. How do you feel about Christmas movies?

Give me the Grinch Who Stole Christmas every year. I also loved the World’s Greatest Christmas Pageant Ever and the one about Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree.

8. What is your favorite holiday dish?

Oh, that should be plural! Warm, sugar-frosted stolen on Christmas morning; rare roast beef for dinner; the addictive almond brittle smothered in chocolate that I learned to make as a teenager; my mother’s dark fruitcake laden with fruits and nuts and soaked in brandy; decorated cookies – spritz, sugar, gingerbread; a high, three layered, lemon-filled white cake, frosted with buttercream icing and smothered in coconut; warm cherry-cranberry pie.

9. When is it too early to start listening to Christmas music?

Start the barrage two weeks before the day. Anything before that makes it all redundant.

10. What is your favorite holiday smell?

Another plural. Balsam; snow; cookies baking; chocolate, warm bread.

11. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?

Do you mean the truth that he still exists despite the silly rumours to the contrary?

12. What kind of decorations are on your Christmas Tree?

My tree is a haven for nostalgia. There are old glass ornaments from my parent’s first Christmas, some frosted, glitter-sprinkled ones from my childhood, a number of wooden ones from my children’s home years, and a few newer ones that have been gifts. Colored lights weave amongst the branches and reflect in the tinsel that hangs from each branch tip. A small angel overlooks it all from her perch on the spire.

13. Do you open a present or presents on Christmas Eve, or wait until Christmas Day?

Both. We have always had a Christmas Eve celebration where one gift each is opened. When I was a child, we drew names and bought for that one person. The rest of the gifts are opened in the dark of Christmas morning. We light the tree, make coffee or cocoa and take turns oohing and ahhing.

14. Go to someone else's house or do they come to you?

Both. When I was a child, my grandparents came to our house. When my children were small, their grandparents came to our house. Now that I’m the grandmother, I go to see my grandchildren on Christmas Day. Christmas Eve is spent with my brother and his family and whichever of my children can come home to me.

15. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving?

Both! There is great pleasure in either one; such fun to watch someone unwrap a gift you’ve chosen especially for them and equally fun to unwrap a treasure someone else has chosen just for you. If we don’t receive gracefully, how do we allow another the pleasure of giving?

Happy Holidays to all.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Between the sky-blue-pink
hours of today
snow and then rain
fell from a quilted sky,
the trembling branches of a fir tree
yielded to the ax,

squirrels vied with birds
for suet and seed,
ordinary objects were
wrapped and ribboned into
gifts, soup bubbled on
the back of the stove,
while the cat, wise soul,

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

After the Storm

My footprints are like
indecipherable words.
Ink on new fallen snow.

All the evergreens look like Christmas trees after a snowfall.

Even the huge red maple on the front lawn was frosted.

Yesterday the geese left - we should have heeded their warning...

Took a walk in the black and white landscape between the snowfall and the coming rain.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Poetry & Silence

Author John O'Donahue says poetry is the language of silence. I walked the Cobble on Sunday to live those words.

In the crystal woods
The water talks to itself.
Poetry stalks trees.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Waiting for Snow

There was no visible sunrise this morning, just a lightening of the sky above an army of threatening clouds marching solemnly along the horizon. Small birds fly before a heightened wind, zig-zagging from fence post to tree branch to bird feeder. In the strange half-dawn light, tree branches become arthritic fingers trying to snag the flapping crows that cut a razor-winged path through the morning sky.

On the other side of the window, lamplight makes soft shadows in the corners of the room. The teakettle sputters and hisses, the grey cat curls up in the rocking chair to sleep, the leaves of the geranium plant in the window lean toward the pane, seeking the pale light, waiting on the promised snow.

*note: the season's first snow started falling at 3:00 PM