I finished lunch an hour ago and have since been sitting by the hearth, enjoying the cozy warmth while reading bits from various Christmas books and trying to decide on quotes for upcoming posts. My lunch was so late because I got sidetracked when I finished the last of my desk work for the week after ambling into the kitchen to see what could be warmed up for a quick meal. I remembered the bags of sunflower seeds and cracked corn I'd bought on Wednesday were still in the back of the pickup. Along with the 9-foot Christmas tree, tied compactly in netting, which Myladylove and I had tracked down, claimed, and carried out from the most remote corner of the 500-acre farm where we always cut our own.
Lugging 50-pound bags of birdfood to their storage bins on the deck took awhile, especially if you stop every so often to listen to the sweet caroling of a Carolina wren. And of course I had to refill all the feeders before I got mobbed by chickadees and titmice.
Then there was the tree to be brought around, de-netted, and shook a bit—a task which got interrupted by the need to chase Moon-the-Dog up the hill and across the road and back to this side of the road and through the neighbor's yard and back down the hill—where I finally caught up with her long enough to administer a well-deserved swat to the backquarters with a leafy branch for putting me through such an ordeal, unrepentant though she remained. In case you've been wondering how my fine old dog is doing since her surgery, let me just assure you her acts of truancy and misbehavior have increased dramatically—a sure sign of positive progress.
Anyway, all that required way more time than you might guess. At which point I decided to build the fire…so…wood and kindling was gathered, a fire was laid and lit, and then, finally, I got around to fixing something to eat.
Now, the day is winding down. The light is fading. A scattered snow is falling from a dim, gray sky.
Myladylove will be home in a few hours and we'll spend the evening decorating the tree—pulling the familiar old ornaments from their tissue wrappings, worrying with the lights, disagreeing about the amount of tinsel and whether or not to add those silver icicles. Somewhere in there another meal will occur, probably a sort of extended snack with apples and oranges and cheese and sausage and crackers and nuts, then cookies and candy, or mugs of hot chocolate. The fire will be warm and glowing. The room will smell of woodsmoke and cut pine. I already have carols playing—lovely old tunes, ancient in their melodies and harmonics, which somehow capture so well the mood of today as well as of the season…gray skies, falling snow, the changing light.
And just now, outside my workroom window, a lady redbird has arrived to keep me company….