My youngest granddaughter's birthday fell on the day after Thanksgiving this year. While we celebrated with cake and gifts on Thanksgiving day while we were all together, it was her heartfelt wish to spend her actual birthday experiencing Black Friday with a wallet full of birthday gift cards and cash. When you're 11, this is a really big deal. Her mother, my youngest daughter, has been playing Christmas music since Halloween. She was born on December 5 and has always been known as the Christmas baby. She lives up to that name. So the two of them, along with my oldest granddaughter (daughter to the Christmas baby and sister to the young lady flush with cash), got up at 6 a.m. and drove out into the darkness to get the Christmas season started ..... except ....
...it's still Autumn.
I don't care what the TV, internet or newspapers say. Winter doesn't start until Dec. 21. Until then, it is still officially Autumn. I don't know what this insane rush is to toss away one of the most beautiful seasons of the year like yesterdays turkey bones and plunge into the Christmas season with a madness that sort of cancels out what the Christmas season is supposed to be all about, if you think about it. As for me, I hold onto the soul-touching beauty of Autumn until the first snowfall.
F. Scott Fitzgerald, in his novel, "The Great Gatsby," says: "Life starts all over again when its gets crisp in the Fall." I totally get what he's saying. There is something about the smell in the air, the way the wind feels on your face, and most of all, the light, that takes me somewhere that feels safe. Yes, it's the light, most of all, that has a special golden glow to it, that speaks to me of cozy firelight, hot chocolate, jumping in the leaves, collecting pine cones to decorate, and leaving special treats for the birds and squirrels to put away for the winter months. When the first rays of sun hit the hills outside my window in Autumn, they light up with a magical glow that calls out to me: "Come, come out and play with us." And as the last rays of sunlight dip below those same hills, sending magnificent purple sunsets across the sky, I can almost feel Mother Nature pulling her blanket over all of us, wishing us a good night and sweet dreams. Between the two, my days are filled with going for walks, watching the animals hard at work gathering up their stores of nuts and seeds, and feeling ... loved. That's the only word I have for it; Autumn makes me feel loved.
My daughter's family have a tradition of putting up the Christmas tree as soon as the Thanksgiving leftovers are tucked away and the dishes washed. I usually excuse myself at this point and take myself home for a cup of something hot, a blanket over my lap (usually with a cat on top like icing on a cake), and my virtual fireplace roaring while I pull out my journal and write down all of the things I am thankful for. On that day of gratitude for family, friends, food, shelter and health, being thankful for the season of golden light and love has to be right up there near the top of my list, and I am going to hold on to it for as long as I can.
And so it is.