Tuesday, December 3, 2013

December 3

Up early again this morning. It's black, black, black out there at 6 a.m., black enough to make me wonder what all the fuss about changing the clocks was about. I sit with my back to the window and work through the early morning hours, the first of many cups of tea by my side, and I know the sun has started to rise when I see the shadows gradually appear on the wall in front of me. As the morning wears on, they begin to slide across the wall in slow motion. Finally, when the sun begins to warm my shoulders, I get up and put the kettle back on and think about going for a walk, but the stack of reading almost always calls me back.

And oh, there is so much to read right now. School's over for the semester, so there is marking to attend to and I've got some editing work on the go. It's good to be busy but I am eagerly anticipating the quiet season. After the holidays, another series of transitions lies in wait – moving from one year to the next, from one school to the next, from one project to the next – but before that I'll have a bit of breathing space. I'm looking forward, as I always do, to the days between Christmas and the New Year; time to rest, reflect and gather my forces for the year ahead.

But first, Christmas. This year I'm thinking about replacing my tiny silver tinsel tree with a vase of pine boughs, hung with knitted ornaments. I've missed the scent of pine. This will be the year I finally make a house or two for the Christmas village I'm so inexplicably fixated on. (I'll need a miracle in balsa wood.) 

Gifts this year need to be handmade and heartfelt, too: tiny, intricate knitted things; homemade cookies and candy and fruitcake; handwritten cards and letters, with photos – stories from the year just past and hopes for the year to come. I'm giving the gifts I hope to receive.

But all that is three weeks away. Until then, I'll keep trying to find the bright spots and quiet moments in these dark winter days, and to celebrate them whenever and however I can: lighting a candle at dusk, sitting in the gloaming with a cup of tea, silently counting the stitches as I knit, savouring dinner with a friend. I'll make sticky cranberry gingerbread and spend an evening addressing cards by the light of the twinkle lights, and I'll keep the faith until the days start lengthening again. 


  1. I enjoyed this post, Austen. Any chance you would post your sticky cranberry gingerbread recipe? xo

  2. Thank you both. Hope you had a chance to make that gingerbread! The three kinds of ginger give it a real kick.


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