Saturday, December 19, 2009


i was a jesus girl for a while, but at heart i'm an aesthete, so what i love about christmas is good harmony. we're lying around our villa listening to christmas carols and it's causing me to remember all my favorite christmases:
  • christmas in vienna, 1977: we were so jet-lagged and cold we could hardly stay awake, but the singing at that cathedral, in the candlelight, was the reason i went to graduate school
  • christmas at zengelwood, 2004: never thought i'd buy a house, never thought i'd live with someone, never thought i'd be hosting my sister's clan on mo's brother's hand-me-down table, in the room we stripped (and stripped and stripped) of wallpaper, and painted
  • christmas on the beach, kauai, 2002: christmas without snow, without cold, without ceremony, without guilt. was that really seven years ago?
  • christmas at baden baden, 1976: "stille nacht" on the guitar in the crisp german air
  • christmas at shannon's, 2008 (not xmas day): somehow everything was just perfect, the food, the family, and darien actually eager to sit with us at the table with her half glass of wine
  • christmas at dan and tony's, 2008: great wine, easy camaraderie, interesting people, the love of chosen family, a diane von furstenberg dress
  • christmas at the zwickers', 1988: the last christmas before my sister married, she came over and spent christmas eve night with me in the spare room in mom and dad's basement. there were some painful conversations that night, but i still treasure it
  • christmas morning on 63rd street, 1974ish: i got a massive box of crayons and stubbed my toe on the metal box, but wes and bernie and phyllis and neal were there with us. (i saw neal's name on a doorplate at carleton many years later.) was that the year i got a pair of cross-country skis?
  • christmas at braemar circa 1987: they're reading the christmas story and shannon leans over to say, "just imagine: your own cousin is eight months pregnant and you have to hear about it from the angel gabriel!"
it's a cliche to say, but they really do seem to go faster and faster, these yearly demarcations. i am peering under the bottom of my glasses to write this post, and my father is napping for the second time today. i've been so focused on 2009's meannesses (the promotion debacle, the psychosis, the nursing home) that i have neglected to reflect sufficiently on the precious fact that everybody i love is on solid footing. if i could have one thing for christmas it would be to gather them all in my arms and protect them from ill health, doubt, loss.

it is so much harder to take life lightly.

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