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.

Layers

~ vintage blanket
~ vintage blanket

 

It snowed this weekend and the world became just a bit more enchanted. Layers of water and ice glistened over the street. Ribbons of snowflakes tumbled and bedecked the boughs beyond my window. Lights twinkled, evermore bright, as darkness dropped a veil atop the blanket of white. A hush settled upon the land. The world was beautiful to behold.

I’ve learned to look closely, to appreciate the layers of a life.

Everything layers. The snow that buries treasure. The cut pine boughs that house an errant spider. The branch of Winterberries that feed the birds. The words we write; the silences we keep.

Look closely.

My eyes scan the room to view a mother’s treasured sideboard. Once it stood stained and polished, waiting for Sunday. On that sacred day, she’d set out the silver and china serving dishes. Her best effort. And we would celebrate family.

Look closely.

A patina of paint and wax covers the oak sideboard. The top sanded, the edges worn. The silver stands in a cast iron urn, a twist on up cycling.  The china serving bowls rarely make an appearance. I see the candle burning down. A daughter’s attempt to hold on, let go, to illuminate the night.

Look closely.

My fingers lift a gilded frame. The sepia photograph is of a woman. I trace her portrait.  She is standing on a deck, leaning against a railing, looking out to sea. Dressed in her finest clothing, her fingertips hold a hat. A lady always wears a hat. She was a believer in proper etiquette. Beyond her rolls the Atlantic.

Look closely.

I recall her eyes, shades of indigo grey. Behind their depth is another layer. Doubt. I imagine her pausing, pondering, “Should I leave England?” I dust off worry and discover bravery. Carefully, I lift another layer to expose joy ~ he is waiting for her to cross an ocean.  On another continent, he goes about his life, planning, constructing, beholden to a dream.

Look closely.

A certain magic fills the room. A whispered breeze kisses my forehead. I see my Grandmother; she is still beautiful. Time has gently taken its toll. Her once bright eyes have paled. They  glimmer, wet pools of faded blue. Her finest dress, threadbare. A pin of pearls is elegantly placed beneath the collar of her blouse.  Beside her armchair a weathered curtain hangs, the faded Irish lace rustles.

Look closely.

Everything is layered, weathered, chipped, cracked and broken. Be still. Pay attention to the forgotten. It is within glorious imperfection that we find beauty. Lift the layers gently, see beyond the cracks. Everything and everyone has a story to tell. The magic of the world works in whispers. You only need a heart that feels to see the wonder that surrounds us.

A Softened Moment

flocked in snow
flocked in snow

in a softened moment

under a veil of grey

snowflakes tumble

tipping my world

each flake, a scattered memory

a reach across time

you, always choosing december

to withdraw and return, to withhold and offer up

the spoils and riches of a life

yet within this silent moment

envisioning you near

choosing to believe

in everlasting love

 

my footsteps circle, pause

eyes cast toward the heavens

palms lifted to receive

your gift

 

between worlds we stand

witnesses

to never-ending love