12.31.13 We touched down back home to a lovely sunset. The power must have stayed on because the little outdoor trees were lit up by their timers and fairy lights were reflected in the snow. It was a quiet Christmas for us. It was good to be in the mountains with old friends on the east side of the state. As we drove over the rolling hills and through broad meadows around Columbus on a sunny Christmas Eve afternoon, we smiled at all the extra pick-ups and cars parked at farmhouses and ranches. Everyone was home for Christmas. Finding home at Christmas for us has come to mean being with family, at their homes. But this year, all my family left the country on Christmas morning for a holiday together in Mexico. And with a burial yet to come in Colorado, the holiday has felt subdued, often lonely for us both.
Yet, even now, as the holiday is coming to its close, I’m remembering the walk in the dark on Christmas Eve, with our friends and their grown children, under the brilliant milky way and dazzling stars. It was cold and still and the only sound we heard was the crunching of the snow beneath our boots. Back at their cabin, around the blazing fire, we all joined in to recite “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” from memory, laughing when we stumbled over the words. There has always been one special moment during all my Christmases past that makes me love the holiday. I think it will be that walk under the stars this year.
We go away from home again, very soon, so I am trying to be here now. The weather is quiet. The roads are crusted in old ice and there is some patchy ice fog. I’ve had to put aside my running shoes and get out on cross-country skis for morning exercise, waiting for hours before there is enough light in the sky. When I’m tucked back into my warm and cozy home, it seems like Christmas has yet to arrive–the candles, the trees, the evergreen scent–such a “Christmas Interrupted” time it has been. And, then tomorrow, the new year will have arrived.