It’s late, and the house is quiet. The weekend is over, Thanksgiving is past, and this moment right now is the space between waking and sleeping. I’m not quite ready to let the weekend go. I’m also not particularly in need of an audience, or someone with whom to share this quiet moment. My sharing, for now, is handled and this moment, now, is my own. It’s a very nice quiet one.

An annual celebration of light.

An annual celebration of light.

The loft has been transformed into a holiday paradise. There are very personal, particular, even… ‘magical’ qualities to the holiday season for me, that go far beyond jingles, sales, advertisements, tradition, marketing, habit, or expectations. I made the winter holidays my own, a very long time ago. Today, I sipped my last coffee of the day surrounded by colored lights, and fantastical glass ornaments of all imaginable sorts, quite content to enjoy the things about this holiday season that move me so much. I’ve tried hard for so many years, and in so many relationships, to share this particular experience, this magic, this wondrous transformative understanding of the winter holidays that is my own experience of it… I’m not sure that I’ve ever really succeeded beyond communicating with some modest success that these are holidays that matter to me. That’s enough. It has to be. We are each having our own experience.

Ornaments as metaphors; love is a lighthouse.

Ornaments as metaphors; love is a lighthouse.

For me, preparing the house for the holidays, decorating, setting up the holiday tree are more than tradition, or habit, or expectation; they are in important ritual in the cycle of my life, letting every year end on a note of warmth, love, generosity, appreciation, gratitude, and value – no matter how bad the nightmares, or how traumatic the reality. Each year I unpack the ornaments and treasure the moments I recall as I handle them, and look them over in the light. I place each one so carefully, considering even ‘now details’ and how the precious memories it holds fit the context of my life; I place some prominently, and tuck others around in the back where they are less likely to be seen, or asked about. Each year the tree is a monument to life, to emotion, to memory – to the content and meaning of life and love, experienced over time. Bits of sentiment, souvenirs, and trophies, too, perhaps; my life in glass and glitter cherished through the season, and packed away ever so carefully once the new year arrives.

Some ornaments are purchased, others are handmade.

Some ornaments are purchased, others are handmade.

I sat, hands warm and wrapped around my coffee cup, enjoying a moment of stillness and waiting on our evening meal, it finally became more real…how little need there is for any one else to ‘really get it’, so long as I am true to myself, my values, and I am accepted and valued within my relationships such that I can enjoy the experience that is my own without any particular hindrance.  A lovely moment, a gentle lesson in life’s curriculum; I almost managed not to wonder if I feel exactly precisely all of this every year, without being able to understand that I have, that I do, that I will… I did manage not to be frustrated with that thought, it too passed, and I enjoyed the stillness.

Holiday magic - everyone makes their own.

Holiday magic – everyone makes their own.

These simple harmless pleasures contribute to this amazing journey, enjoying them is part of who I am – and it’s one of the very best parts, too – I woke up to a better understanding about ‘experiencing’ and ‘sharing’ and how distinct from each other those ideas can be, and how utterly okay that actually is. It’s a nice idea on which to end such a nice day, such a good weekend.