Waiting for Christmas. This year it feels familiar to me again.
Today is one of those mild late fall/early winter days that happen here where I live. A rain is falling that is little more than a heavy mist. Steady. Quiet. Soft. Not cold, just a little chilly. A person could put all her potted plants out on the front steps for a good soaking and not shock them with this weather. (If a person had front steps, a person could do that. My house has front steps that lead up to its front porch ... in my imagination.)
Rain like this is the reason few people in this wet part of the world carry umbrellas. I still want an umbrella - I'm old now, I guess. Not old enough to keep a plastic rain hat thing in my purse like my grandmothers did (one wishes to protect one's weekly trip to the beauty parlor to have one's hair "done," doesn't one?), but old enough for an umbrella. In fact, I want a selection of umbrellas - one for every mood.
But even I wouldn't carry one on a day like this. This is just a damp filter for full sun. It doesn't get anyone wet. Not really.
This is the perfect weather for finishing school work for the season - doing the last bits of things - tonight we go to one of the term end recitals/concerts for one of the young giants. This week I hand in my last essay for the term. Make a plan for the rest of what I want to do with PLA. Two weeks of school before two weeks of Christmas break. And I swear that the very ions and molecules vibrated and jumped about while the house was full of guitars and "you gotta watch this" and "I'll be home late" last week. Today I know why people say "the dust has settled" -- it's not dust -- it's bits of energy that eventually settle back down once the causes of their agitation go back to agitating their own classes and jobs and lives.
This year I feel like all the years of school have come back to me - and I loved school. Today I can feel the rising anticipation of the bus ride home from school. We took the city bus home when we got old enough. There was a transfer spot to change buses from due west to due north, and we waited there, in the damp and spray from the traffic, and I knew that in a few minutes there would be home. Warm. Dry. Lit. And something different from when we'd left that morning because...
Christmas is coming. Christmas in the Pacific Northwest. It smells like this. It feels like this on my skin. It sounds like this - soft - rain on evergreen trees - small hush of wind in the bare branches and across the grass. Christmas is coming. Just a few more school projects, and it will be here.
My mom had a nativity set that - I think - was given to her by our neighbors. It had been a ceramics project - I think. It was all in a lovely brown color and looked like wood. However it came to us, I loved arranging it at this time of the year.
I've started my own. Mine aren't breakable though. I'm adding a piece or two a year, and I'm assembling a village. Someday I will have grandchildren, perhaps. This will be the time of year for assembling the village of Bethlehem. It is that time now. As the rain brushes everything outside my windows today, I'll finish this essay and then get the box out of the cupboard. Tomorrow, Bethlehem will come to the polished wood of the piano's top.