After Christmas

 

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Happy Boxing Day, my friends.  On Boxing Day we celebrate the simple truth that we have survived another Christmas.

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Our Jewish friends might also celebrate that the Christmas season is winding down, but they are quite busy with Hanukkah, which just began on Christmas Eve this year.  They will celebrate their third night tonight.

In Europe, today is also St. Stephen’s Day and the Christmas celebrations of family gatherings and celebratory food and drink continue.

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“Boxing Day” has lingered in our culture, though few of us really remember how it began.  It’s more fun than Christmas in the UK, I’m told, and is a day for giving gifts to important people in our lives who aren’t necessarily ‘family.’

In past times, the wealthy gave ‘Christmas Boxes’ of food and gifts to their employees and vendors.

Some of us still remember the postman with a little something this time of year… and ours has certainly earned a little appreciation!  We’ve had packages left at our door before 8:00 AM more than once this month.

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Some of us still observe the old “Twelve Days of Christmas,” and will keep our Christmas lights up and plan gatherings with friends and family through the first week of January.

Our Christmas tree is usually still up as January draws to a close.  After all the fuss of putting it up, one may as well enjoy it until it dries out, don’t  you agree?

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Others await this special shopping day each year to score the best deals of the season while  retailers try to clear out their remaining holiday merchandise.

Your inbox, like mine, is probably already flooded with special messages from every online retailer with whom you do business and a few more hopefuls….

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But many of us with extended families close by will find themselves traveling to one or another home today for ‘second Christmas.’  We’ll be visiting with those we missed, or who missed us, yesterday.   We won’t find ourselves shopping, but probably will have a completely enjoyable day with loved ones.

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Whatever you do today, please enjoy the day. 

Allow for a bit of relaxation after the rigors of the Christmas shopping/ cooking/ decorating/ card writing/ crafting/ party/ season we’ve just finished.

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December always feels like a marathon to me, and I push myself to ‘get it all done’ by Christmas Eve.  Now it’s finally time for a bit of rest and enjoyment.

Maybe you feel that way too, and have put away your rolls of wrapping paper and unused cards with the same sigh of relief which escaped my lips yesterday afternoon.  What’s done is done, and I’m not going to be tempted to lose these last, sweet days of December doing much more.

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My first gardening catalog of the new year arrived on Christmas Eve.  What a sweet gift postman ‘Santa’ left for me on Saturday!  It had a nice selection of ‘New’ 2017 introductions to savor.

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That said, I can feel the joyfulness of ‘Boxing Day’ in this morning’s light.

Another Christmas has come, and now we can sit back and enjoy those things  which matter to us most.  We can gather with loved ones if we want, but we’re also free to head of to our favorite chair with a good book or catalog.

And there’s finally time to take a nap.  And of course, to head back out to the garden to simply enjoy the beauty of it all….

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Woodland Gnome 2016

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An Ice Spike

December 26 2013 Christmas 010

Do you believe in synchronicity?

Have you ever noticed the universe communicating with you through interesting events and coincidences? 

I do.  In fact, I believe that the more we notice the coincidences and synchronicities (related things happening at about the same time, seemingly independently of one another) in our lives, the more likely they are to occur.  I take it as a little affirmation that we are “in sync” with the universe; that the lines of communication are open.December 26 2013 Christmas 015

I first noticed something odd about our cat’s water bowl, out on the deck,  when I made that first morning trip to the kitchen on Boxing Day, still a little blurry eyed.  “How did a straw get into Ollie’s bowl?” I wondered.  What fell in there and froze overnight?  Having never before heard of an ice spike, icicles which grow up instead of down, counter to gravity; it didn’t even enter my mind that I was witnessing such a strange phenomenon.  And so I paid it no mind, other than to make a mental note to investigate and remove whatever was in the cat’s bowl of water later in the day when it had thawed a bit.

December 26 2013 Christmas 011Until, that is, we happened to watch The Weather Channel that morning during breakfast.  The Weather Channel ran a little clip about the strange, unpredictable occurrence of  “ice spikes.”  They ran a little video showing ice growing up, out of a small container of water, like an upside down icicle.  Very odd!  But, then I began to wonder….  And went outside for a closer look at that bowl with something seemingly frozen into it.

And there was the first “ice spike” I have ever noticed.  Something new under the sun!  What a treat.

Have you ever seen such a thing?  Apparently, it all has to do with the speed at which the water freezes, the volume of the water, and the fact that water expands as it gets colder.  We all know that ice occupies more space than water, and that water expands as it chills and finally freezes.  Perhaps you’ve seen “ice flowers” blooming out of the ground or out of frozen woody stems on frosty mornings.  As the freezing water expands, it extrudes from any small crack or crevice and then freezes out in the open air.December 26 2013 Christmas 012

So, the synchronicity was the ice spike appearing on our own deck overnight and being there to greet us on the very morning we saw the special feature about ice spikes on the Weather Channel.

Some might call that, “Asked and Answered.”  The lesson, to me, was to be open to learning something new.  We should never just take the world for granted, assuming we’ve already learned what there is to know.  There is always something new and different to amaze us, if only we’ll pay attention.   We must, in some important ways, remain “as little children,” full of wonder and curiosity; open to learn what the universe is willing to teach us.

All Photos by Woodland Gnome, 2013

December 26 2013 Christmas 013

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