It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like . . .

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Even though my twenty-something son, this year’s Thanksgiving Turkey Chef, stored the twenty-three-pound bird in my eighty-something mother’s freezer last weekend, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas here.

That’s good news for me. My two favorite winter activities are writing and cross-country skiing, with snow-shoeing a distant third. I bought my cross-country pass early this week. As you read this, I’ll be shushing and bobbling along cut tracks, humming “Angels We Have Heard on High” to maintain a vigorous pace. (I really do that, you know.)

I have a love-hate relationship with winter. I love the fact that I work from home, so can leave highways and byways (and ditches and telephone poles) to people who have to get out. I love our snow-plow drivers, impeccable night skies exploding with stars, and chicken chili con queso in the slow cooker.

I hate the mess: the mud/slush/mag-chloride that coat tires, the garage floor, vehicle exteriors, and the bottoms of my shoes. I’m not too keen on temperatures that tumble into the single digits on both sides of zero, and I hate the fact that I can’t get cut flowers out of the grocery store and into my house without them freezing. (Every once in a while, I “girl out.”)

But it’s a privilege to experience the seasons, coming from a place that had two: summer and not summer. It feels like Christmas in December (and sometimes in November). The little chickadees (I was certain as a child that artist Norman Rockwell created this species especially for his Christmas paintings) perch in the aspens now. I look at the meadow each morning and identify deer, rabbit, fox, and occasional mountain lion tracks, telltale signs of the night’s visitors.

I hope that whatever season you’re preparing to celebrate is a wonderful one filled with joy and love. I pray that you can take a moment to settle down, breathe deeply, and appreciate one single thing every day until the beginning of next year. That’s the perfect way to celebrate Thanksgiving, right? Appreciation is vastly underrated.

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