Quite frankly, I could not have thought of a better way to spend Christmas Eve day than snowshoeing up Butter with Nicky and Ann. Let me amend that – carrying snowshoes up Butter (most of the way).
It was lovely – we had white trees and a touch of a view now and then. Most of all, we just had nonsensical fun – the best kind.
And now it’s actually here – Christmas Eve!
I find this day so odd – especially this year for some reason. Maybe it’s because the tree is so much like the ones we had when I was a child – but I am transported back to that magical time when my brother and I were so in thrall to it all. We were taken by the magic – we were anticipatory and excited and most of all, in a state of awe.
There was also a feeling that the day was ceremonial and holy. We were not religious – not one bit. We did not go to church, so I don’t mean that kind of holy. It was holy in the sense that it felt like the earth was holding its breath – waiting for a miracle. And it always came.
It was the lights on the tree and the sense that we were part of a ritual that stretched back for hundreds and perhaps thousands of generations. It had more to do with the light and the night and the stillness – that if you were truly silent, you could hear the earth breathing. If you were lucky, you might even here her whisper love words in your ear.
And so on Christmas Eve everything was festive – the food – things we only ate once a year – and the gifts that we treasured – and the glow of candlelight all around.
One night each year – the magic.
I am reminded of it and I wonder – where did that feeling go? If I pay attention, I realize (with shock) that it is still alive – it’s right there but I have chosen to be an adult and not to let it escape – not to feel it – not to be subsumed by it.
If I were Charles Dickens and writing this as a short story, I would make sure that the main character (me) would be daring – would let it all out – would be engulfed by this childhood feeling of magic.
But I am not Dickens. For me, it is enough to know that magic lurks. And lurking works for me – it works perfectly well. Tonight – cheap champagne, German potato pancakes and drunken Scrabble with my love. All of this in front of a warm fire.