Tuesday, December 26, 2023

The Between Days

Here we are again, poised at the heart of the liminal interlude bookended every year by the Winter Solstice and the shiny new year only a few days away. These winter days are a precious (and much needed) breathing spell between the two holidays, and I like to think of them as the "between days". It seems as though 2023 just got here, but we are  bidding it farewell and contemplating 2024 with all its unknown possibilities, adventures, trials and ordeals. A few more adventures next year, and fewer ordeals, please.

Holiday shopping (what little there was of it) was wrapped up and tucked under the little tree in good time this year. A thousand and one cookies were made, and tins of baking were delivered around the village. This year, the members of my tribe are either abroad, or they have full houses of their own so my own celebration will take place today with dear friends. Gift bags, ribbons and wrapping have already been folded and put away for another time, and the silken rustle of the tissue as it was smoothed and pleated into neat squares was pleasing to the ear.

Now there is stillness in the little blue house, and after days of toing and froing, there is time for rest and reflection. Who knows what Beau and I will be doing on New Year's eve? COVID and seasonal viruses are running amok in the village again. There is a possibility we will be home by ourselves and safely sequestered with wonderfully smelly candles, a wedge of fine old cheddar, a mug or two of cider and gingerbread.

I made a lovely big pot of Bigelow's Constant Comment tea this morning, and the kitchen was filled with the fragrance of oranges and sweet spice. Snow sparkled through the south facing window, and the kitchen was filled with silvery dancing light. As we leaned against the counter and waited for the kettle to sing, it seemed to Beau and I that the best part of the holidays is the clamor and bustle when we are together.

There is laughter and camaraderie in the kitchen, and around the old oak table in the dining room when the feast is set out. Endless mugs of tea are poured. There is an eloquent silence in the darkened garden when everyone goes home after our revels have ended. Looking up at the moon, almost full last night, we (Beau and I) I thought of our departed companion, and we sent him our love. Blessed be.

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