Peace of Christmas

Early on Christmas morning, the neighbourhood is serenely at rest, the lights all dark save for the one room in the house across the way that always seems to be on. The silence is golden, the hour sublime.

I got up early, coughing from the lingering effects of the cold that settled in a few days ago.  I went back to bed for a bit, as the lull of the morning suggested more sleep would be a good thing.  The lull was right, an extra 30 minutes seemed perfect.

I'm at the computer with a hot cup of coffee and my thoughts, a blank page on the screen, Christmas lights twinkling in the living room just down the hall, quiet acoustic guitar holiday music playing in my headphones and stillness all around me.

This will be a quiet day for us, each doing our own thing, fire on the hearth (it feels like -43 this morning with the windchill), and lots of leftovers in the fridge.  We had our big family gathering on Christmas Eve.  My sister Corinne and her family came over for a very untraditional meal of lasagna.

A number of months ago, she had a horrible few days when her dog was on her last legs and needed to be put down.  Corinne is a sensitive soul at the best of times, but it broke my heart to see how much she was hurting.  As part of my holiday painting process, I wanted to make sure to find time to remember Brandy in my way.

Corinne may not remember this, but we babysat her one night many months ago.  It was so nice to have that little being on our bed at night.  I grew up with a little dog named Tiny keeping me company at night.  Having Brandy with us that night felt so nice.  I hope I captured that in the portrait.

"Merry Christmas," I said to Corinne and Chris, handing over a wrapped package.

"Oh, I can't do it," said Corinne.  "Someone else needs to open it."

She knew right away what it was, even though Heather bravely tried to take her off the scent.  My sister knows me well.

My nephews Jonathan, Matthew and Thomas helped get it opened up and Corinne did a noble job of holding it together.  My suspicion is that the moment it goes up on the wall in their home the tears will fall.

I had a message last night after from Long Waha, a teacher in a small village school in Cambodia.  We had met on a bridge in Siem Reap when I was putting the finishing touches on Mern's painting a few weeks ago.  He seems to be intent on staying in touch, which I truly appreciate.

"Marry Christmas," he wrote. 

"Does anyone over there celebrate Christmas," I asked. 

"No one," he wrote.  "Just me."

Well, Merry Christmas Long Waha, and Merry Christmas to you the wonderful reader of the Middle Age Bulge blog, wherever you lay your head in the world.  May the peace of the season find its way into your heart and home.


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