Monday, December 17, 2012

Twenty Minutes

Twenty minutes left before the first child wakes, before the Christmas lights come on and the house says things have to start happening. Twenty minutes of quiet, now punctuated by Mike's alarm. Twenty minutes of coffee, bitter and dark in a quite house. I can't write a blog post in twenty minutes. Now sixteen.

Hanukkah is over. We remembered a lot of the nights and forgot a few. We always do that. We're not terribly observant, not being actual Jews. I'm tired and my muscles ache. This weekend, we made nine million peppermint marshmallows, fourteen billion pieces of fudge and a batch of cinnamon almonds and put them all on plates for teachers and coaches and bosses. We put up the Christmas tree. It is lush and beautiful and gorgeous, quite unlike the toothpick trees we've had for years. It is really too beautiful for us. It leaned into the bookcase, threatening to smash everything.

"It's going to knock over the TV," I informed Mike.

Next thing I knew, he had a screwdriver and put a screw into my window jamb. Around this and around the tree trunk went a string.

"There," he said. "It's fixed."

This kind of thing only happens to us. Its low branches were too lush to permit the pitcher of water to get in. Rowan had to hydrate it with a tube of wrapping paper, which he had angled to create a hose. The perfect Christmas tree, so perfect it's unusable. It looks nice screwed to the window and surrounded by presents. It looks like a mighty effort accompanied by a lame sort of miscalculation which characterizes the people I love. It looks like us, dressed up as Douglas fir.

Six minutes. Six minutes to tell you that my father is coming to town on Thursday, the kids will be out of school on Friday, and the solstice is Friday, too. Six minutes to tell you that the air smells like cinnamon hanging on, like forests, like the plot of a Jan Brett book. Five minutes to light you a white candle of gratitude for reading me when I have nothing to say, when I ramble, when I gift you with hard edges of opinionated pain, or vague story, or soul-searching meditative thought. One minute to breathe in the smell of Solstice hanging on the air and breathe out again. It's time.

It's time to begin the day.


  1. A day like so many others. To cherish to the end of your days.

  2. Such imagery. Nine million peppermint marshmallows is a lot! 14 billion pieces of fudge, however, is not. :-)

    Hugs and love to you and your family.

  3. And that you did! Brighten my day, that is! And , let me assure you, that is not easy on rainy, windy Monday....

  4. Not bad for ramblings:) I know that first coffee in the quiet dark. A favorite moment.

  5. Thank you, Tara. Just that. Thank you.

  6. Twenty minutes seems to be just the right amount of time.
    I need to thank you for 'introducing' me to the Solstice. I will be celebrating it this week. Probably all by myself, but that seems quite fitting.

  7. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. As always.

  8. The perfect trees are a lot like people, not quite so perfect ;-) Ours was too wide to walk past and the angel only just fit on the top, but it was beautiful!


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