Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Catching my Breath

With the majority of the holiday hoo-ha behind me, I feel I can finally settle myself by the computer long enough to catch up.  Christmas is full of lessons for me; I learn every year.

One thing I re-learned this year is the importance of making time for family and friends, despite a deep need for solitude.  It's expected, necessary; those planned moments seal our affection for each other, join our widely-spread tribe for a shared meal or cocktail, and maintain the emotional ties that are so vital to our feelings of wholeness as a community of like minded friends.  Though we were fighting off a nagging cold that had us both exhausted, and were committed to help with several nights of Lights in the Woods at the farm (our winter fundraiser), Peter and I managed to spend time with many of our dearest friends during the last week.  Those we haven't seen are either traveling, or too remote to visit on our tight budget.
The Drafts at Lights in the Woods, Flint Hill Farm
Speaking of tight budgets, I'm amazed at the sense of abundance I've been feeling, despite the lower flow of cash.  My freezer and pantry have yielded up a bounty of wholesome meals, thanks to this year's gardening, foraging, and gifts of farm fresh meat and home made concoctions from like minded friends.  Our Solstice locavore dinner, held with Stephanie and Mike and hosted at their larger, tidier home, was a testament to the fecundity of our Pennsylvania farmlands, with a wealth of locavore pot-luck goodies provided by the 20-something guests.  It was a refreshing blend of old friends and new ones, all mingling warmly and hailing the holidays on the longest night of the year; a celebration of readiness. Solstice brings an instinctual hunkering down, a nesting urge, one we painfully ignore in our contemporary artificially lighted lifestyle.  Instead of yielding to the increased desire to eat comfort food, sleep deeply, and semi-hibernate, our industrial culture has sold us a bill of goods that requires us to plod on...with a sour winter temper resulting from our neglected subconscious desires.  Of course, bills must be paid, cows must be milked, children must be taught; but I propose we embrace our desire to simply sleep and be comforted by a warm fire and a hot meal occasionally, and remember that life is actually a rather simple and beautiful thing, with waxing and waning rhythms, like the moon and the seasons.  Why fight it?  Our Solstice dinner was, for me, a symbolic reminder of that idea.

Christmas came, and with it the family gatherings and meals, made a bit more difficult this year by our distance from my daughter.  The core of the celebration has shifted, as it should have, to the home she's made with her fiance and the five children they share, and we older folks are adjusting to the new dynamic.  I'm finding the transition rather beautiful; seeing my daughter blossom into her full adult power is an awesome experience.  She fills me with a quiet pride.  She's strong and beautiful, with a steadiness grown of experience.  She loves calmly and deeply. She couldn't give me a better gift. 

Megan, During Warmer Days
Our drive was long that day, with a trip south to pick up her grandmother, then the longer trip north to see her.  I spent the second leg of the trip, from Granny's apartment in Phoenixville to Megan's house in Forty-Fort, PA (near Wilkes-Barre), stuffed into the coffin-sized extended cab of my little truck like cord wood.  It was good for a laugh, and not nearly as bad as it sounds.  We had the space decked out with a large couch pillow and a sleeping bag, so it was comfortable enough, even if I did have to make the trip with one arm wedged over my head.  I'm beginning to appreciate the potential story-making qualities in difficult situations these days, even as they're occurring.  The inherently amusing silver lining. 

The house was a riot of people, most of them small; there were cats and dogs and new in-laws and food and drinks; too much activity to worry about social amenities.  It was a crazily busy few hours of chaotic merry-making, with kids coming and going, adults sneaking outside for brief moments of quiet and cool air, and much gifting and picture-taking.  It was exhausting fun, and we left with Megan's car, complete with my two grandsons, instead of the truck; they needed a ride to their father's house in Hellertown, which became our next stop in the Christmas-day marathon.

Trevor and Hobie
Love transcends physical discomfort.  It makes you agree to do things that are hard, and like it.  Christmas was one of those days, for all of us, and it was beautiful.


  1. Loving your blog and loving that you have found goats. It seems we long for a lot of the same things so I am looking forward to following your blog. I am currently a Goat Borrower and am in search of a way to make my life with goats become a reality! ;)

    Good fortune to you and a bright New Year!

  2. Mimi, I look forward to reading your blog! Goats are wonderful creatures. Volunteering at the farm has been my salvation. Maybe something like that will work for you as well.