Actually, it is. I love this time of the year. And only a small piece of it has anything to do with the Christmas thing. I do love the music and food and gatherings and watching people go everywhere to see their families and friends. But you can keep the presents and financial obligations and commercialism. But there's something captivating about winter. The longest day of the year. The dark. The cold. The sky seems to be more clear in the winter (well, when we can actually see it....here in Portland). The stars shine even brighter. The wind seems to blow away bad things. It gives the mind a chance to clear and rethink. But I do enjoy it for the value it brings to the earth and to my life.
I'm home this week. With what may be Pink Eye. I've never had it. And the doctor isn't sure....if it's actually Pink Eye. If it is, it's highly contagious. If it's not, it's just puffy, red eyes with stuff in them. One eye more red than the other. So, I'm home. Certainly not at work with something contagious.
We leave one week from today for Albany, New York. We're going to kick off the year 2012 with lots of good friends in the countryside outside of Albany. Cold. Snow (maybe). Laughs. Giggles. Good food and drinks. A pajama party inside while the cold winds of the night remain outside. Actually, I've already asked LoverBoy if we can make sure to go outside on New Year's Eve. To stand together even if just for a minute. To enjoy the night...the sky....and all of those other things that the last few minutes of the year bring. He has agreed. We're flying to Boston, renting a car, and heading west back toward New York state. I'm praying for good roads on the Mass Pike (isn't that what those fancy Northeasterners call it??). We're going to enjoy a huge dinner with a ton of our close and extended friends on the 30th. Many of these guys are those that we spend Bear Week in Provincetown with each July. The rest are friends of friends who are now our friends! It's nice. And we can't wait.
Portland is on track to have the driest December on record. It is typically our wettest month of the year. And we've had barely any rain. It's been cold and clear with some morning fog. So, the other day Mason was scratching at our patio door "Let me out!" So I did. He likes to hang out there on the east-facing patio in the mornings when the sun is shining. He stares down three floors at the people below wandering to and from our corner coffee shop. Now, he knows the rules for being out there: (1) No barking (2) No throwing his toys over the edge and (3) No digging in the planter that houses a small Japanese maple tree. But for some reason, I caught him in a compromising position that I've never seen him in before:
And then he did this.....perfectly, beautifully, innocently:
Merry Christmas everybody. To you. To your friends and family. To those moments in our lives when we don't feel like saying anything "Merry." To those things that are less than "Merry." Who cares! Look 'em straight in the face anyway and say "Merry Christmas" or some other happy greeting.