first snow

janetchui-firstsnow
“First Snow” by Janet Chui

Snow provokes responses that reach right back to childhood.
~ Andy Goldsworthy
(Midsummer Snowballs)

I am a book of snow,
a spacious hand, an open meadow,
a circle that waits,
I belong to the earth and its winter.
~ Pablo Neruda
(Winter Garden)

first day

12.25.12 ~ New York, New York
12.25.12 ~ New York, New York

…”The Little Drummer Boy” is Larisa’s favorite Christmas song…

12.25.12 ~ New York, New York
12.25.12 ~ New York, New York

This year Tim had a vacation for the week between Christmas and New Year, so we decided to travel to visit our kids, who did not have time off from work for holiday adventures. Tim spent Christmas Eve in the emergency department seeking treatment for another bout of diverticulitis… But a CAT-scan determined that it was caught early enough and was mild enough for him to be treated with oral antibiotics and sent on his way.

12.25.12 ~ New York, New York
Larisa and Compromise ~ 12.25.12 ~ New York, New York

Christmas morning we set out for New York to spend the day with Dima & Larisa, who cooked us a scrumptious feast for dinner. When darkness fell the twinkling tree lights came on and we admired all their decorations. Compromise, their pet albino rat was allowed out of his cage and spent the evening with us, cuddling with Larisa, while we were playing board games. It was a lovely, cozy and peaceful evening, our first Christmas in the city, with Christmas carols playing softly in the background.

12.25.12 ~ New York, New York
Compromise ~ 12.25.12 ~ New York, New York

Whenever Larisa needed to get up to attend to something she left Compromise on her chair, knowing he would not risk jumping off it. He would wait patiently for her to return and hold him again. We never knew a rat could be so affectionate. Sometimes he would sit on her shoulder while she was busy with things. So adorable!

The next morning Dima & Larisa were off to work and then Tim & I left for our next destination in Virginia!

days of darkness

illustration by Lennart Helje (1885-1922) Swedish Illustrator
illustration by Lennart Helje

Our governor has asked all the churches in our state to ring their bells twenty-six times this coming Friday morning, in memory of twenty innocent children and six brave women who were gunned down in their elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut four days ago, last Friday.

As the chilling details of this horrific story have been unfolding we have been thinking of little else. We are numb, still stunned, deeply saddened. Our hearts ache for the first responders and for the parents, families and friends who lost a precious loved one so suddenly and so inexplicably.

As the light begins to return on the winter solstice, as the bells are ringing, as prayers, sympathy and blessings continue to be offered, may the light of comfort and healing shine a little brighter and a little longer in the days to follow.

It may be that when we no longer know what to do we have come to our real work and that when we no longer know which way to go we have begun our real journey.
~ Wendell Berry
(Standing by Words: Essays)