Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas week and counting

Cmas minus 7 and counting. I can see the end of my buying and wrapping sequence from here. It's a little more complicated for families like ours that have an actual birthday to celebrate on December 25. Our son's birthday starts at noon. Christmas ends at 11:59 AM. Keeping Christmas and birthday presents straight is easier some years than others. I'll let you guess whether this year is one of the easier ones or not.

This morning I had coffee with a friend and colleague at Nina's. We agreed we had to try to get together more than once a year.

Nina's Coffee Cafe   © harrington

I'm still working on learning how to take decent pictures of Christmas tree ornaments. Last year's were mostly out of focus. A couple of this year's are decent. This first one is because I've been giving the daughter person "little angel" ornaments for a number of years now. That may (or may not) end with the upcoming wedding next autumn.

glass angel ornament
angel ornament    © harrington

This one is because we have almost as many dogs as we have people living here. (Don't let them know I referred to them as other than people.)

HOME is where your dog lives ornament
for dogs and dog lovers   © harrington

I hope this Christmas you're home with your loved ones, or at least with your loved ones if you're not at home.

Christmas Away from Home

By Jane Kenyon 
Her sickness brought me to Connecticut.
Mornings I walk the dog: that part of life
is intact. Who's painted, who's insulated
or put siding on, who's burned the lawn
with lime—that's the news on Ardmore Street.

The leaves of the neighbor's respectable
rhododendrons curl under in the cold.
He has backed the car
through the white nimbus of its exhaust
and disappeared for the day.

In the hiatus between mayors
the city has left leaves in the gutters,
and passing cars lift them in maelstroms.

We pass the house two doors down, the one
with the wildest lights in the neighborhood,
an establishment without irony.
All summer their putto empties a water jar,
their St. Francis feeds the birds.
Now it's angels, festoons, waist-high
candles, and swans pulling sleighs.

Two hundred miles north I'd let the dog
run among birches and the black shade of pines.
I miss the hills, the woods and stony
streams, where the swish of jacket sleeves
against my sides seems loud, and a crow
caws sleepily at dawn.

By now the streams must run under a skin
of ice, white air-bubbles passing erratically,
like blood cells through a vein. Soon the mail,
forwarded, will begin to reach me here.