Gad December 20th and I’m not even done with the Christmas card! It’s such a production always. Who can I leave out? This year I’m up to 200 cards to honor my various friendships, none of them casual. (I mean, is it casual when that girl Wendi at the Post Office gives you hand cream just because the two of you bonded over dry skin talk one day? When she thinks to set aside some of her own and brings it in for you and hands it across the formidable barrier-window belonging to the United States Post Service?) I sometimes see Wendi on the street, away from her ‘Post’ and she seems to me an apparition, as if Glinda the Good Witch materialized before me. How could I not send Wendi a card?
Then there’s the question of who to include ON the card, meaning whose face should be on it. Everyone who lived here this year that’s for sure and that’s before you even get to my gene pool. But how many images have I got when I gather up all my favorites? 15? 20? Thank God for Google’s Picasa that lets you make a collage of them all, bunching them pinched at the waist as you do when making a bouquet….
Yesterday I talked about what makes a good holiday picture. Here above is one from the archives, taken the summer of the great heat when, to escape it, I had the brilliant idea that we drive to a steaming valley in central Massachusetts (bad decision) to visit the working early 19th-century farm known as Old Sturbridge Village, where we leaned, faint with heat, and watched a sow do whatever it is sows do. (Oh I remember: it wallow in mud (and the mud sure looked GOOD to us that day!)
This above is Take One of the pictures I took that day where the expression on Annie’s face spoke for us all. I think I actually put it on the holiday card that year.
And this below is Take Two. The children were 11 and 9 and 4 and my mother had died six months before and without her it felt to me as though my world had just.lost its firmament. I remember well the sense of vertigo I had.
Having lost my ceiling, I was just beginning to look down at my floor.
These guys are my floor and also the man off camera who helped me make them; who every single day helps keep my walls strong.
I have a to-do list a mile long for today, like everyone else. But I will put on my special bright blue top and do the best I can, thinking of my Builder, and my Floor, and my Ceiling.
Perhaps especially I will think of my Ceiling because it was on this day that she died, in the midst of her own birthday party, wearing that same blue top that she said made her feel like an Empress.
Here’s to us all then, Empresses and Emperors, past and to become! Do your best today, smile on your brother and be on the lookout for those angel visits which come as routinely as the rain, whether we realize it or not.