Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Old Stage Road, framed

I framed this for my daughter, and hung it behind the Christmas tree for her to find. It is the painting I worked on as her father was dying of cancer a few months ago. When our children were young, we lived in the foothills of the Siskiyou mountains, and there was a special place along the Old Stage Road where we took our kids to picnic. Painting it was an intensely emotional experience, with layers upon layers of memories, so much so that I have absolutely no objective sense of the painting at all.

Framing and hanging it was an act of letting go for me, and at the same time a gift of memory to my daughter. It is where it is supposed to be.

The week before Christmas....

My Christmas plans got somewhat rearranged. The week before Christmas, the town plow pushed mounds of snow into my property (illegally). I was completely blocked in , with no way to get out, and unable to move the heavy, compacted snow. No shopping, no tree. no preparations for Christmas eve dinner. The town came and looked, but did nothing but make more promises.

Two days before Christmas I finally found someone who had the time to plow me out (the town will get the bill).

My daughter hosted Christmas eve dinner, and cooked the goose. I arrived bearing boxes filled with home-made dinner rolls, my own cranberry-orange relish, pumpkin pie made with almond milk for the lactose intolerant among us, fixings for dressing to go with the goose, and a large pan of my special oozy cinnamon walnut rolls to eat while opening presents the next day.

We have sort of an ecumenical family that includes a semi-lapsed Catholic, a pagan, a devout Wiccan, and a practicing Buddhist. Some of the others we are not sure about, but there they are. The nice thing about this holiday is that it truly is an trans-cultural holiday, whose original purpose kind of threads everything else together: the day that the sun lets us know it is returning northward, and that the cycle of life is beginning again. A time of sharing and community.

May yours be as well.