It is Friday evening after Thanksgiving. The day was sunny but chill; I have stayed inside for most of it. Tonight is chillier yet. The furnace has just kicked on.
As I write these words out in longhand, I am sitting in the living room, reading some, writing some, sorting out my thoughts.
Warren is upstairs, putting his study to rights. I hear him rolling back and forth across the floor in his desk chair.
Elizabeth is upstairs, probably sleeping after a sprint to the mall at four a.m. for a day out shopping with girlfriends.
I am alone and this room is quiet.
Although I have pulled most of the curtains shut against the chill night air, I have left open the one directly across from me. The neighbors across the street have hung colored lights - "icicles" - on their house this year.
I like the colors, the little bits of glowing confetti in the dark.
Last year I nattered away about my lack of Christmas spirit. This year, the nattering is quiet. I sense instead the year slowly wheeling towards its close, bringing Christmas and a new year closer in quiet and measured increments.
I miss my children acutely. I want to wrap them and their needs in blankets of care. I feel about them as the poet: "would that I could gather them / This Yuletide, and shower them with coins." But it is a cold night and they are 2500 miles away, all gathered in Portland for the holidays.
I lift up my eyes from these pages and look out again at the bright flecks of color in the dark night.
The days from now until year's end unroll in my thoughts. I know they will be full of cookies and concerts and Christmas cards. There will be packages to ship west. Warren will make his father's peanut brittle and I will make my grandmother's popcorn balls. I hope the days will be full, but not hurried. That is my wish as I gaze out into the dark.
I hope they will be full of small moments strung together like the lights across the street - little jeweled votives lighting the night.