Barely awake, I crawl out of bed. It is two weeks before Christmas, and I need to start the day early.
Dressed in my warmest clothes and boots, I climb into the frigid car and notice that the temperature gauge reads 21 degrees. Shiver...
Across the street, the freshwater pond reflects the blue sky, and the woods wear their winter coat of white.
Cranking up the heater, I head to the highway on route to the dentist’s office a half-hour away.
Once I stop shaking, I begin to see the winter wonderland around me.
Dusted with snow, the houses and evergreens sparkle in the early morning sunshine, just like the images on the Christmas cards I have yet to write. This is quintessential New England at its best, something we often take for granted when temperatures plummet.
Sitting in the dentist’s waiting room, I turn on my Nook and begin typing in my journal, making a list of Christmas things to do:
The tree that we bought Sunday is waiting in the living room, the decorations still tucked in bins lining the garage walls.
Boxes of cards sit on my desk, alongside the Christmas stamps.
I have a houseful of guests coming for Christmas dinner, and I don’t even know what’s on the menu.
After my appointment, I slip into a nearby Dunkin’ Donuts. Munching on a muffin and sipping tea, I pull out the Nook again; and this time I decide to list my accomplishments this season, rather than my shortcomings.
I attended the beautiful Holy Day Mass of the Immaculate Conception on Monday night, and a gift I bought lies under the Giving Tree for a young boy I have never met.
I performed in three Christmas concerts at two nursing homes and at a church as a member of a volunteer 30-piece concert band.
Nineteen jars of my homemade grape jelly, adorned with crimped red-and-green Christmas fabric, line the top of my pigeon-hole desk…
Noticing the people sitting nearby, I hear their excited chatter about their own Christmas preparations.
“I feel the influence of the season beaming into my soul from the happy looks of those around me,” wrote Washington Irving. “Surely happiness is reflective, like the light of heaven; and every countenance bright with smiles, and glowing with innocent enjoyment, is a mirror transmitting to others the rays of a supreme and everlasting benevolence …”