The Beauty of Silence

snow scene

This is a contemplative time of year.  How do we see ourselves?  What can we change to make ourselves better people?  I contemplate keeping my big mouth shut.  If didn’t like karaoke so much I would wish I were mute!

Like the time we were sitting at a long table at our friends’ wedding dinner.  Everyone laughing and passing food, settling the children where they should sit, enjoying the celebration.  The wedding was for our friends’ at Miller Farms daughter and her long time boyfriend that we had befriended over years of doing markets together.  Somehow, they had started calling me Kate pretty early on.  Which I despise.  But somehow over the years I never mentioned to call me Katie.  Oversight on my part, really, and I should know never to let things sit unresolved in my mind, for it will explode out of my mouth at the most inopportune time.  As her young brother was moved away from me so that their adult friend could sit down, the groom says nonchalantly, “You can see Kate later.”

“KATIE!  It’s Katie!  I probably should have mentioned that earlier.”  Gaping mouths closed and an uncomfortable banter started as if nothing happened.  I had hoped that perhaps I was so quiet in saying it that no one would remember, but now every time we see anyone from the wedding they say, “Hi Kate…ie.”

Or sitting at a crowded table in a restaurant with my very dear friends.  Kat mentions sweetly that Doug is just like one of her sons to her.  “Boy, you have rotten kids!” I blurted out.  Huh?  Why the hell did I say that?  That familiar uncomfortable banter ensued.

I get nervous and say stupid things.  I responded too quickly at farmer’s markets with Nancy, saying things clipped or cocky.

I got mad and blurted out things at Doug’s family’s table that I could not live down for years.

I have hurt feelings.  I have not always been loving.  But I try.  Sometimes things just fly out of my mouth.

Things that come out when speaking to the kids, come out wrong and they can easily turn it into something worse and I realize that sometimes what is in my heart doesn’t come out the way I want.  My words are my own nemesis.

If I were mute, only those that read my written words, or know sign language would know when I say something idiotic.  I would appear to be this sweet, quiet lady.

I try to compliment everyone I meet.  I try to raise people up and inspire them.  I just need to get rid of the turrets-like things that find their way out of my mouth.

I sit by the window and watch the swirls of icy snow create a vast wonderland.  The pure white world glistening and peaceful as the animals mill around in their thick coats and the wood smoke wafts lazily into the cold sky.  The scene is so beautiful, and pure, so peaceful and sweet that I want myself to mimic this landscape.

So if I don’t speak to you and only smile, you know it is for your own good.  Words are icicles.  A smile, a good ear for listening, and a hug is far more valuable.

Twenty Letters

I have always been entranced with the beauty and childlike wonder of this time of year.  I start getting excited in September.  Autumn is our favorite season.  We are coming down from our whirlwind of farmer’s markets, closing up the gardens, and can see the fruits of our labor lining the walls of the root cellar.  We can settle in and enjoy the crisp smell of the air, the wood smoke from the neighbor’s stove, and bask in a little down time.

We are so thankful for our granddaughter, Maryjane!

We are so thankful for our granddaughter, Maryjane!

November rolls around and I start nesting. We tend to repairs that need to be done on the farm, projects like the craft room, and preparing for Thanksgiving.

But what we are really preparing for is Christmas.  Our hands down favorite time of year.  I am enthralled with the lights and how they make the whole world twinkle.  The music, and how jolly the sounds are.  How children’s classics like “Frosty the Snowman” are followed seamlessly with Andrea Bocelli’s “Ave Maria”.  Andy Williams brings me back to childhood records, and Bing Crosby will always be associated with my husband.  We love and watch Bing’s classic holiday movies and mimic him respectfully by singing his songs in our best smooth, deep voice followed by laughter.

Grammie needs to talk to Santa too!

Grammie needs to talk to Santa too!

The commercialism hasn’t bothered us as we have no desire to buy a million presents and we don’t need to receive a lot of things that take up space or that I have to dust.  Heaven forbid!  But useful things are adored.  Homesteading items, handmade items, things from the heart.  My favorite gifts are things that Kat gives me that were her grandmother’s.  Precious embroidered linens and aprons.  Nothing big.

So this year, we have arranged with most of our friends and family that we are giving all homemade or second hand gifts.  We hope to get a little of the red wine vinegar Rodney has been brewing this year, or something that Rod Sr. has carved, or some delicious Apple Butter from Aunt Jenny.

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We love Christmas because of the closeness that ensues.  We have dinners and try to show our affection throughout the year to our friends and family, but Christmas allows us to show how truly thankful we are for these people in our lives.  And no matter what one’s religious background is, it is a time of love and light and beauty, which makes this a magical time of year.

I also have a great love for Santa.  I love Doug’s beard.  Our daughters have turned it a little white over the years, hopefully it will turn completely white and we can have reindeer here at the farm and he can be the real Santa to the grandkids….oops, carried away.

Future farm animal?

Future farm animal?

Back to the thankfulness for friends and family.  We are giving simple gifts this year but on top of that I wanted to give something else.  A letter.  I want my closest folks to know what it is that draws me to them, how much they mean to me, and how thankful I am for them.  Twenty letters.

Starting at Doug’s family’s Hanukkah celebration December 1st through Christmas dinner at our house December 25th I will give those I love a heartfelt letter.

letters

I do hope that while writing Christmas cards, or sending gifts, or lighting the Menorah, that you make sure to let those around you know just what they mean to you.  Life and time are so finite, so quick, that there is no better time than now to express those things that linger in your heart.  And no better time than the magic of the holiday season.