As December blows near, you hear it whisper, “Go. Find the magic.” As the temperature drops, you find yourself choosing people and moments to warm spirit and heart. You wonder if magic truly does exist.

It’s as simple as coffee with a friend, an impromptu gathering, or an hour spent wandering the holiday aisle. It’s soy wax, melted and poured into glass salmon jars. It’s a phone call, or a message that reads, I’m thinking of you. It’s holding your mother’s hand.

She looks at the basket, filled with moss and bulbs, and asks, “When did orchids become so intimidating?”

You smile, knowing, she speaks the truth. Direct and honest, her words make sense. The scale has changed to bigger, more, and most. You wonder, too.

December softens us. We’re captured by nostalgia, pulled deeper into self reflection. Sparkling lights, tree tops stacked outside the hardware store, woodland ornaments, hung from a rack, stir memories: beautiful and sad. We long for that which is simple and true. We wonder.

There’s beauty in sorrow. It’s a shivering soul, asleep on cement, as a stranger tucks a blanket. It’s a late night phone call followed by tears. It’s a sunlit morning, an outside invitation, a rogue stratus cloud. Staged and still, the cloud opens. Snowflakes tumble, soft and raw. You glance up, as cold, warms your cheek. You stand alone and wonder.

In a wordless moment, you’re struck by gentle force. It is a presence, which you can’t explain, an unwavering comfort. You are certain.

It’s ‘Bambi’, watched wide- eyed, as a child. Midnight and a mother. She slumps and straightens. Her fingers feed velvet cloth through a machine, determined, as she forms a dress for her daughter’s doll.

Years later, seated in a wheel chair, she will speak of an exact moment and comment, “All I ever wanted was to be a great mother, to own a dog, and have a home.”

You take her hand. You say she is the best mother and remind her of all the beautiful memories and simple moments you witnessed sacrifice. You understand that love is kind, and speak of lost December’s surprise: father attaching a cedar and candy cane wreath to the front door, the anticipation of gathered family. Minutes later, a Cadillac pulls to the curb. Doors swing wide. The Great Aunts, alight. One plucks a cane from the wreath and winks. Patent heels click. Furs drop. Joy dances through the rooms. Later, two children, dressed in velvet, snuggle in mink. In another room, ‘Julie London’ plays on the stereo. Crystal clinks.

December is an opportunity to dust off the crystal and turn the vinyl. It’s the pause in a busy day, to hold space, for another. It’s the month to remember and reunite. Our mission: collective goodwill and a promise to lift love above hate. It’s the season to resurrect your inner child, to believe the impossible is possible, and to honour wonder.

On Winter’s eve, especially one so cold, Roy is witness to unquestionable beauty. Even the branches glitter. He looks up. The moon hangs, swollen and ripe, perfectly placed within an inky sky. This must be Heaven.

His mother’s words flit back and forth, “Moonrise, Blue Moon.” She wears an apron, hand stitched and patterned from the finest Irish linen. Round her neck is a chain with locket.

Alice tilts her head and nods toward him. She presses one hand against the apron’s cloth. As she speaks, her words drift on smoke rings.

“Mind you keep a blanket close.” She pauses to exhale. “It’s a frosty night.”

She gazes through the attic window. Moonlight gleams through glass. Beneath the window is a garden. Hard packed soil is all the eye can see. Her smile is a secret. Buried deep beneath the earth are the bulbs she had planted in autumn.

“Sleep darlings,” she whispers.

He wants to sleep, too. In sleep, one finds stillness. Instead he stares at the rafters. His cot is narrow, a makeshift type of bed. The blanket is wool and itches skin. Tears sting. He understands this and so he blinks them back.

He recalls how she had loved to sing about the moon and the colour blue. He imagines her sitting on it, a glass of Gin in hand. She winks.

A canopy of stars lights the sky. Frost has kissed the branches, leaving nothing but prettiness. The moon lights his path.

“Climb a ladder, pick a star. Call it magic, if you must.”

Her voice begins as a whisper, gentle lyrics scrawled upon a torn sheet of paper. Notes build. Softly, gently, she sings about a river. Her words: a broken hymn, an arrow to his heart.

Standing alone, she is precious in her solitude, with eyes wide and deep, a child. A lock of hair falls across her pale cheek and he stops an urge to tuck it into place. Her feet are bare. Unflinching, she stands tall. 

Who is she? Familiar yet unrecognizable, with eyes the colour of moss. When she turns to face him, he remembers emerald sparks and velvet. He hears the sounds of laughter, a bear, and talk of stars.

They move in unison, one step forward, two steps back. Her gaze never leaves his face. She reaches for his hand.

He asks himself, Is this heaven?

He does not believe in magic, in that which he cannot explain, certainly not angels. There is reason in science. This unfolding wonderland can be explained. Roy is certain: warm air mass is pushed above cold. Icy precipitation forms. If the warm air mass moves out of the way and it is cold between the storm clouds and the ground, -. He shuts his eyes.

Her hand grips his. Her fingers are warm. She leans in to whisper,

“Sleep, Daddy.”

Part One

Draft # 3


Cross legged on the grass, I watched, as he looked skyward, eyes raised toward heaven. His mind was transcending the here and now. Gone was the hill he’d yet to climb, faded were the saddest memories, their burden heavy, for one caught up in the prime of life. A weight had lifted off his shoulders, dropped at his feet. For a moment, he’d entered a mystical space. 

In that moment, I thought him brave.

TBC

Draft

‘Dream On’

1974