Simple and special. I do hope you'll forgive me for being a bit of a broken record once again this time of year, but honestly there are so many broken records telling us something so completely different from that message, that I - and likely you too - could use a little reminding from time to time, and day to day. The reminder of how we want our precious family days to be spent, of the way we want our children to know the holidays, their childhoods. Of how we want to live, share, and love together.
I haven't yet brought out the totes of holiday decorations from the barn. I've noticed each year that the day I do so gets later and later, and then even when I do, the number of things that comes out of them is less and less. Instead, In place of that, I find us making more simple and temporary things. Gathering what we can find close to home, and making do with what we have here to make 'something' from it all. Simple and natural little bits, with just a touch of sparkle. They get wrapped in burlap and hung on doorways, or tied in twine and taped to walls or just simply placed in bowls on a table. A little bit of the outside world brought in with us, as we begin to nestle in for the winter.
There have been a lot of searching walks for all of these things. For a tree, for red berries, for fir and spruce and all the little pieces that my babes have determined they'd like to use as their materials. They're short, these walks, sometimes they really are. And sometimes there is inevitable dischord in the space of seven people being together. But there are more moments of harmony if we are paying attention. Harper so carefully uses his hatchet on the downed birch trees he finds for a piece of bark. The older boys run ahead to scout out the best tree, but end up getting distracted in the fun of hiding on us and each other along the way. Adelaide carries the basket and fills it up with focus for a while, until there is a cat to follow or a track to notice or a boy to chase. Annabel goes from Papa's shoulders to Mama's hip to walking on the uneven trail with her growing steadier feet. And sometimes, there are few enough children talking to us or around us so that Steve and I manage a few words of dreams and plans and thought. Or silence, for that is a wondrous thing to share in the woods too.
There is so much simple and true beauty and love both around and among us on these little walks of ours, or in the moments we're all making clay ornaments, or dipping feathers in a bit of glitter, or making treats to say thank you to those we love. These moments I hold so dear. I find myself wanting to say to these growing older children of mine, emerging into the larger world as they are: "this, my loves, this is what it's all about. Not some silly headphones or gadget or 'thing' you may think or be told you need but will forget about in one months time or two years passing. The magic of the holiday, indeed of life, lies in these moments shared. These are the 'things' you will one day love most of all."