I’m home in Maryland after five months at my grandmother’s place, one of those cozy white Cape Cods with green shutters in the woods of New England. The kind of place Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye might show up wearing Santa hats and caroling at the front door, and I would invite them in for mulled wine and ginger cookies and we would sit by the Christmas tree and reminisce about the war. 

Isn’t it weird how that generation is so sentimental and misty eyed about World War II? I think it was the pinnacle of both my parent’s lives. I guess it’s because national – and even global – crises bring people together with a sense of unity and purpose and sacrifice for the common good. We could sure some good old fashioned “goodwill towards all,” these days. Too bad there’s nothing traumatic happening to bring out the best in us, like a deadly pandemic or maybe an ecological crisis that makes polluted air and water seem like a picnic in the park.

Anyway, I’ve buttoned up my little hideaway in New Hampshire for the winter. Funny I still think of it as “Beedie’s house” even though my grandmother has been gone, near as I can tell, for thirty-plus years. I say “near as I can tell” because I’ve been wondering lately if all my departed loved ones have actually departed. There are so many family memories in that creaky old house, it’s hard *not* to believe there are loving spirits hovering about, still rooting for me, comforting me, encouraging me, playing a role in my life that I’m totally unaware of.

I’m currently planning a contemplative Advent Quiet Day at my church, something I organized for years with my recently departed friend Bill Duncan. I swear I can hear his voice, his skeptical reactions to my musings, his laugh. He feels so close sometimes, not “gone” at all.

Christmas is Coming, Ready or Grumpy

I’m working on not getting depressed, because that often happens when I return from New Hampshire. It’s dark, it’s cold, it’s the holidays again and everyone’s dead and even if they weren’t, I couldn’t see them because of this unspeakably horrible unending pandemic. And now we are all supposed to be the worried about this new Origami variant? I just can’t.

I spent Thanksgiving night in a hotel room in Pennsylvania with my adorable cat Alice and a fabulous book, and I got to have fried onion rings & tater tots for dinner. So I can’t complain about that.

Alice & Amor

But when I got home Friday, my pipes had frozen and burst and there was a flood in the kitchen. I pulled a muscle in my back trying to drag the washer out from the corner where it was spewing water. So I’m feeling sorry for myself and pissy about the holidays and am really hoping that these hovering spirits give me a good kick in the pants and get me outside for a walk, because I can’t abide self-pity, especially in myself. 

That’s how I am today. Happy Advent to you, if you are one who entertains visions of angels hovering in the sky over shepherds and flocks. You never know about such things. You never know who’s hovering.

I’m going to go outside and cut some cheerful red holly. Because Christmas.