On this Christmas Eve.

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frosty branches under bridge

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On this Christmas Eve.

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gunnar up high

 

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I wake this morning feeling out of sorts. It’s my first Christmas without Forrest. What’s the point of Christmas cookies without him here to eat them? (Bob would rather have pies.) My son never got a house of flashing lights, Santa, singing and Rudolf, but baking, and lots of it, I did for him.

We do our best to raise independence. Give them all we can, everything we can.

Put him down, they said,
Come on, get out, come with us, leave him, get a babysitter… he’ll be fine.
No, I said. Because I wanted to be there for him.

This is what matters most, I said. And it did.  So now, what does?

The theory was to help build a solid foundation.
Upon which he would build his rocket and take off.

He’s taken off.  How far away can you get?  I think the South Pole is good.

Of course I am proud. And couldn’t be more pleased.
This is what we’ve been working for, what we really wanted, but still it hurts, you know?  Not pain, so much as a void you don’t know how to fix and fill.

No, not sad, he reminds me (he, the wise one, of course…). Bittersweet, he’ll let me have. But not sad. “We’ve both got so much going on…” and yes, of course, he’s right. Good stuff. It’s not the time to be sad.

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home

 

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Well, heck, then, I say, it’s a day to get high. I’m heading to the high country. Nothing cures my blues like extreme white. Me on my snowshoes, my dog in my track. Breath deep of thin air. This is what heals me. Solitude, silence, wind, hard and harsh elements. The power of powder, intoxication of the elevation. Solace of the season.

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rio grande pyramid

 

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pyramid coming home

 

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No presents this Christmas for Bob and me. We have all we need. Instead, we’re gifting to charities. It gives us as the giver just as much pleasure, and maybe the receiver even more.

Glad to have Justin here to share the celebration, the logging, the lamb, the snowmobiles, the high country.  (He might tell you otherwise after riding with Bob today.)

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from lost lakes overlook

 

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bristol burn and beetle kill

 

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The tiredness of the darkest days, lullaby of deep winter,  forced dormancy, how incomplete I would be without this tranquil time and muted days. Forever summer is not for me. I didn’t know how much I would miss winter until I left it. Like a lover. Left with  a cold side to the bed.

And thanks to Bob, even on the coldest nights we spoon and wrap about each other and I no longer know where my limbs end and his begin and I think somewhere deep inside they really have become connected.

The enjoyment of the long, dark evenings, so much time together inside, finally catching up on reading, baking, writing to friends… thinking.  Do you remember when?

Time for bed. For sweet dreams. For they shall be.
And to you all, my friends, I wish happy holidays. May they be dear, sweet and holy to you, whatever your practice, faith, believe or choice.

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aspen leaf

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rose hip in snow

 

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