Friday, December 7, 2012
The chickadees have been at my window feeder since dawn. Occasionally they're joined by goldfinches, house finches, titmice, nuthatches, and house sparrows. And from time to time a red-bellied woodpecker flaps in with a ratchety-squawk, proprietorially shoos everyone else away, furtively gobbles a seed or two, then bolts like a burglar surprised while filching the silverware.
While that goodwill Christmas spirit of fellowship and charity may be strengthening daily in most of us, beneath the ol' red-bellied's natty black-and-white houndstooth-checker waistcoat and sporty crimson skullcap, beats a heart as miserly as Ebenezer Scrooge's before Marley came clanking up the steps. I'm thinking a close scare from one of the neighborhood cats that sometimes stalk through the yard, and maybe a few feather-curling sips of strong eggnog, might do that grumpy bird a world of good…which doesn't, I suppose, put my own Christmas spirit in the most magnanimous light.
It's dark and drizzly outside and the weatherman says we'll have rain for the next few days—at least through the weekend. Not cold, just wet. Which is fine, since our time will be spent gift shopping and decorating the Scotch pine we cut down and brought home Wednesday afternoon. We do have some decorations in place already, but for me, it isn't until the tree is up, trimmed with countless ornaments, colored lights, yards of sparkling garland, and glittering icicles, plus the glowing star topper, that the house really seems truly ready for Christmas.
For now, I have a stack of Christmas CDs I'm feeding into the player and the house is filled with beloved music. I put a pot of chili together earlier that's delectably simmering very slowly on the stove. I also have a column to write—though it's deadline isn't until next week—and a few touches on the new woodstove hearth to complete, which means, first, a trip to the big-box hardware store. At the moment, while waiting for a UPS delivery before I leave, I've decided to give into the urge to bake something…the question being, what? Bread to eat with the chili? Or cookies or cake for dessert?
Maybe, if that UPS truck doesn't show up right away, both.