Well… better late than never. We did our usual 2018 Christmas get-together in Chateaugay in the middle of January, 2019. We played with the Grand-nephews. We bonded over baking bread and sampling all sorts of whiskey. We had a yankee swap.
The nephews and nieces are, thoroughly grown up by now, and we relished the time we got to spend with them. We loved them as kids, and now it’s such a treat to discover that we really like them as adults, too.
The best part for me as always was time spent with these three people. I can always be completely myself around them. It’s not like I have a choice – they were all there for my formative years, so they know what a nerd I am. And what a rotten kid I was – sorry about the electric fence thing in the late 60’s, Angie.
It’s 1 AM on January 1st, 2019. Beth is asleep. I am blogging. We finished a teeny-tiny bottle of Prosecco, while watching a movie with the cats (Wonder Woman if you must know – really liked it). We did not break out any funny hats or noisemakers. We texted greetings to the kids in Brooklyn, NY and Weare, NH, and Facebook messaged my siblings. That’s as crazy as it gets at our place these days.
We wish all the best to our friends and family, and hope that 2019 is good to you.
Old pictures of my family or of my home town are like small, clouded windows into the past. I want to wipe away the fog that has turned the picture black and white. I want to peer at them from a sharp angle in the hopes of seeing something that’s just out of the frame. I want to squeeze through and walk past my stiffly posed ancestors and into the house that I was born in as it was a hundred years ago or more. There is a picture of my hometown, Chateaugay New York, looking North out of the center of town. It is the 1870s. My family’s farm is straight down the road that leads North out of town, or up to the top of the picture. I know they’re there, frozen in their tracks, caught in one moment of their day, three miles away. But it’s so close. I know that intersection. I know that road. Why can’t I just break the glass and crawl through the window into that sepia tinted world, and walk North on that muddy road to meet my great-great grandparents?
This time of year has always seemed to me like the beginning of a three month trip through a long dark tunnel. The light is strange, and the shadows are long. For a while in October, we could hope for an Indian Summer, and pretend that we didn’t need to find the boots and hats and shovels and scrapers. Not any more. There is no snow on the ground yet, but the air is sharp, and when the wind blows, you know that its over. Fall is gone and we’re heading into the long cold dark. The days are over as soon as they begin. If you sleep in, you’ll get six hours of meager, under-water daylight.
Nothing is certain. We rely on the furnace to keep us warm, and if it fails we’re in trouble. We hope that the weather will hold and that our sons can come home from college for Thanksgiving. I hope that the snowblower will start. At 56 I can still shovel the driveway but I REALLY don’t want to.
Next week is Thanksgiving, and after that the Christmas season will here. We’ll celebrate the annual effort to hold out against the deepest part of Winter. We’ll all be together, and we’ll enjoy our cocoon of warmth and light. But right now I’m sitting at my kitchen table, listening to the wind and to the leaves rustling against the window.
And I’m thinking about the thin envelop of comfort and safety between us and the dark.
A week or two ago, I found a backup of my defunct Typepad blog, and put it back up on the internet on a whim.
And TODAY Jenny Lawson (she of TheBloggess.com) posted an EXORTATION to all bloggers to celebrate and renew their commitment to blogging:
Holy crap – how did she know? That after blogging about the joys and minor irritations of parenthood I had become distracted by social media? And that I lost a bit of my narrative voice when the kids got older and went off to college? When did she figure out that I am itching to say something but don’t know where to begin again? How did she know that I was sitting here staring at the “Add New Post” screen on my new WordPress Blog trying to figure out what to say?
I came across a backup of my old blog today, and thought it might be worth resurrecting. I’m a bit more website savvy than I was when I stopped posting to it and technology has advanced a bit, so it wasn’t too difficult to import my old TypePad stuff into WordPress.
So here it is. Not sure what I’m going to do with it, but I got a kick out of the old posts, thought others might too.