"Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth,
for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire:
it is the time for home."
Fall is starting to slip out of my grasp already. It seems like it came and went in a flash this year. I'm a little sad to see it go so soon, but I am beginning to tumble into that nostalgic mood that appears around Thanksgiving and lasts until New Year's. It reminds me of all I adore about the next few weeks.
It's the time of year when every breath exhaled is visible, every window frosted with icy lace, and every block is glowing with tiny, twinkling lights or inflatable reindeer. Cookie cutters are pulled from the backs of drawers, and sugar and flour cover the counter tops like a miniature snowfall in the middle of the kitchen. Manger scenes missing a camel or two are taken down from attics, while garlands are unfurled and ornaments are turned over to see if it really has been ten years since that popsicle stick one was made. Nights are best spent either driving slowly down quiet streets to see decorations on all the lawns, or staying at home to watch It's a Wonderful Life, with nothing but the shine of lights from the tree to see the rest of the family sipping cocoa or eyeing presents.
For these next six, shimmering weeks, life seems to go by more quickly than usual, but it is savored in a way that makes every moment meaningful. Everyone has just a bit more hope, and faces look younger. Children toddle into church with sparkly red dresses and dapper bow ties. Adults let themselves dream a little and remember what it's like to be those children again.
Wish lists are made, catalogs are pored over, and carts are filled to the brim, but it's more than that. It's a time for rosy cheeks and warmed-up hearts. It's a season for cozy pajamas and too much food. It's a few moments to think about those with less and how to bless them with more. It's a couple months to step out of ordinary life and into a fairy tale world where everything is beautiful and the good guys always win.
Usually, if there is any mention of Christmas before Thanksgiving, I bristle, sigh, and say something like, "What is the world coming to these days?" But not this year. I am ready for the cheer. I'm needing that special brand of joy, that magic that comes with carols and candy canes and colorful chains made from construction paper. I want to sing the line "next year, all our troubles will be far away", and believe it with all my heart.
So while the last stubborn leaves cling to dark trees, and the apple orchard is still full of wagons with pumpkins, I am closing the door to autumn, raising a peppermint mocha high, and toasting a new season.
Hello, winter. Cover the old things with a blanket of snow, and start the world all over again.