Saturday, December 18, 2010

Where the Treetops Glisten

This photo was taken last year, in a sweet little town where my brother lives with his wife and beautiful little girl. Christmas last year was charming. Just my immediate family.... skating on frozen lakes, eating dried pears, soaking up the baby love (my niece's first Christmas), happily dreaming of moving to this adorable town, into a sweet little character home of my very own.

Maybe, some day I might find myself there. But not yet. I can't leave my island behind. I have grown some roots here. I've made some wonderful friends. And there are places I haunt that I just can't imagine myself parting with. The mountain I climb, the oak groves I wander, the rugged seaside trails I roam. The ocean is a powerful magnet. I think I truly belong here. If only I could persuade my family to move here instead.... but I know that they have built their nests in other places.

And I will see them tomorrow. In the morning, I will leave my cosy nest to see my closest family members. We will spend a few days together before the entire extended family gathers for a Christmas in the mountains. We get an old ski chalet all to ourselves...for all 44 of us. It's going to be crazy. And perhaps a wee bit snug. But, there will be skating and skiing and snowshoe trails to follow. There will be food and drink and plenty a merry making. There will be a Charlie Brown tree. And a secret Santa. And an abundance of snow to find the reindeer tracks in. Or perhaps, the bear prints?

And I will be blissfully capturing every moment of it with my camera. I can't wait to come back and share.

Have a wonderful Christmas, my friends.
Much love to you all.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Ginger and Spice

I wish I could bottle the scents that have infused the air inside my kitchen since I started baking this morning. It smells like Christmas...and I hope it lingers like glitter in the air.

I make gingerbread men for all my piano students every year, and I added a few whimsical stars for friends... but this was no easy task this time around. The first batch burned. I even had them in the oven for less time than the recipe calls for, just in case. The second batch was undercooked ( I was so afraid I was going to burn them again), and as I took the poor critters off the cookie sheets, many of them lost their heads and some legs and arms were unintentionally amputated. Sigh. I thought I had this mastered after 15 or so years of making these little guys. I am truly culinarily challenged.

But I persevered. I listened to Wintersong, and I whipped up a new batch that finally turned out the way I wanted them to....and now I am going to flop on the couch and watch Little Women before I make my way to a friend's house for dinner.

It's been an almost perfect rainy Sunday.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Have the Martians Landed?

My thirty-sixth year on this planet has been placed in my internal filing system... nothing more than a memory now as I celebrate another birthday. And as my body gets older by the day, it's comforting to know that my sense of awe and wonder hasn't aged a day past childhood.

My mom comes to Victoria by train every year on the weekend closest to my birthday, and we share in a bit of girl time. This past weekend we unexpectedly found ourselves inside a new aquarium exhibit. We both left our adulthood at the door.

I couldn't take my eyes off the jellyfish!  How could such a simple creature, with no brain or central nervous system look so exquisitely beautiful and complex? How does it know how to move through the water and eat and reproduce without a brain? How sad, to be so fluid and graceful in the water and not even have an awareness of what that feels like. No consciousness. Are they merely in the ocean just to become food for a bigger fish? Is that really their only purpose in life?

Maybe they do have a brain, or a way of perceiving themselves in space, but they are simply structured in a way that we don't understand yet. I would like to believe that. I'd like to think that they consider themselves the most graceful dancers in the sea, their long tendrils flowing like a summer dress, their translucent skin brilliantly illuminated by the faintest light source. That they can feel the gentle pulse of their movements through the currents, and sense their peaceful existence, even if it is brief.

 I remember scuba diving a few years ago, when a tiny moon jelly appeared right in front of my mask. It was so still, and I became still as I watched it hover before me. I thought it was glowing with phosphorescent light and my eyes grew wide in astonishment until I realised it was just the light passing through it from another diver's flashlight. Nevertheless, there is something mysterious and beautiful about these simple creatures. I suppose they do have a deeper purpose... they have the magical ability to keep adult humans young inside...nourishing our intrigue for the natural world and its secrets.