Saturday, 24 December 2011
Twas the night before Christmas...
And I've been admiring the trees outside Tillypronie, as well as the glorious one inside the house. There has been time to walk across the hills -- such a luxury, to feel the Highland air upon my cheeks -- in between the wrapping of presents and the eating of chocolate brownies and meringues. My beloved sons are with me -- the best present of all -- and I feel blessed to have reached this point in my life; to be here, after five decades of previous Christmases. To be 50 -- how did that happen? -- and to love and be loved... such a simple blessing, such a miraculous joy...
If you have a chance, please do read Carol Ann Duffy's 'Another Night Before Christmas' before you go to sleep tonight. It's wonderful, and here's the opening verses, to bring you good cheer:
'On the night before Christmas, a child in the house,
As the whole family slept, behaved just like a mouse...
And crept on soft toes down red-carpeted stairs.
Her hand held the paw of her favourite bear.
The Christmas tree posed with its lights in its arms,
Newly tinselled and baubled with glittering charms;
Flirting in flickers of crimson and green
Against the dull glass of the mute TV screen.'
I love this poem, and Rob Ryan's illustrations for the Picador edition; do look up page 18, of the hare, if you can...
'Then a shooting star whizzed down the sky from the North.
It was fizzing and sparkling as it fell to earth,
And growing in size. A young hare in a field
Gazed up at the sky where it brightened and swelled.'
As for my own Christmas message to the lovely readers that contribute so much to this small community; I am so grateful to you all, for friendship and insights and the best ideas on what to read, and why to read it. If Christmas is a time to remember that life is made up of the small yet precious moments of communication -- only connect, as E.M Forster reminded us -- then tonight is a moment to cherish. Christmas -- like life itself -- is imperfect, sometimes jagged, and all the better for it. Our griefs and disappointments are present, but so too are our hopes and expectations and pleasures. Tonight, I hope you are happy, my friends and comrades, whatever the unhappiness that might have beset you in the last year; courage, mes amis... and let us celebrate the threads that we have woven together, in this, another year...