For 24 hours the snow has not stopped falling. Each flake, another stitch to the immaculate blanket of snow on the ground, and on the part of my heart: mounting joy. Forever a devotee to winter, it is always in this season that I find renewal. In the quietest mornings, when only the call of the Downy Woodpecker and the Black-capped Chickadee at the feeder can be heard, the solace of winter reminds me to give thanks for this life. I was born in the middle of July and love few things as much as being within a body of water, yet I feel most myself in the throes of winter. No surprise, then, that the first snowfall of a fresh, soon-to-arrive winter is a cause for authentic celebration. And, ah, yes, 'twas.
I have been waiting weeks — months! — to spin the inaugural spin of Vince Guaraldi Trio's Charlie Brown Christmas. When my mama came to visit us in early October, she gifted me the record with two conditions attached: it must give me something to look forward to, and it must not be spun until it snowed in Vermont. Charlie Brown Christmas is my favorite, favorite, one-million-times favorite movie during the Advent season of festivity, joy, and anticipation.
Mark and I milked the ladies and ran through chores, and by the time we were finished there was wet, wet snow accumulating on the ground, and fast. The perfect sort of snow for packing a snowball and hurling it at your husband with gusto. In a season characteristic of many things un-festive, un-joyful, and un-anticipatory, taking notice of those things that make us smile and call us to offer thanks are incredibly important. There are the tangibles, or the small and often tactile actions that send my heart outside of myself, like spinning a mint Charlie Brown Christmas vinyl five times; like cooking up potato hash in a huge amount of butter to be shared with my love; like watching the songbirds flit and flutter around the bird feeder; like hearing the tick tack of the cuckoo clock perched above our beloved icons. What about you? Which visions, scents, and comforts have you smiling a genuine smile?
But oh, to speak of the intangibles . . .
My faith in this life and in a life after this one are tied to the intangibles of this world. Without coming across too abstract, I believe that the intangible facets of this spinning, churning, messy, awe-some universe are glimpses into what comes next. I feel better able to sink into the intangible joys of my life knowing that they are not fleeting, even if they seem so, like the love that I feel wrapped in when a three-year-old's arms are hugging around my neck; like the tenderness I feel for animals, who provide and offer so very much; like a memory of hiking across Spain that is conjured by looking at a little blue bandana on my garment rack; like the gratitude I feel for the elderly woman in the grocery store who walks up to my husband and I in the grocery store to sweetly tell us about a new way to peel a pomegranate. These are not menial, most certainly not meaningless. Hopefully these beautiful, unremarkable encounters are speaking to a greater, remarkable truth about this life and the next—a truth that is festive, joyful, and anticipatory.
I often fail to appreciate or notice the goings on of day-to-day life. A human condition, no doubt. As I ready for the deepening darkness of winter and the brightness of the Advent season, I'll be spinning Vince Guaraldi Trio and working on remaining present for the tangibles and intangibles of Life.
A note on a few of our home fixtures that we often get asked about: