“And this is what we mean by friends.  Even when they are absent, they are with us . . . even when they are weak, they are strong; and even when they are dead, they are alive.”
— Cicero

A light in the darkness -- the Macy star and Westlake tree, Seattle

A light in the darkness — the Macy’s star and Westlake tree, Seattle

“Listen to me: everything you think you know, every relationship you’ve ever taken for granted, every plan or possibility you’ve ever hatched, every conceit or endeavor you’ve ever concocted, can be stripped from you in an instant.  Sooner or later, it will happen.  So prepare yourself.  Be ready not to be ready.  Be ready to be brought to your knees and beaten to dust.  Because no stable foundation, no act of will, no force of cautious habit will save you from this fact:  nothing is indestructible.”
— Jonathan Evison, from The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving

Today’s post is in memory of Alden, my daughter’s best friend, who died one year ago.  Sometimes it is difficult to find the strength to stay open to the joys of the season.  I am privileged to witness my daughter’s courage in this regard.  My heartfelt best wishes to everyone who is suffering the absence of beloved friends and family this holiday season.

” . . . simply living demands all the courage that we have.”
— Adam Gopnik, from Winter: Five Windows on the Season

The Best Day of the Year

December 19, 2012

Macy's star shines over the Westlake carousel, Seattle

Macy’s star shines over the Westlake carousel, Seattle

Westlake Park with holiday lights

Westlake Park with holiday lights

“Gray skies and December lights are my idea of secret joy, and if there were a heaven, I would expect it to have a lowering violet-gray sky . . . and white lights on all the trees and the first flakes just falling, and it would always be December 19 — the best day of the year, school out, stores open late, Christmas a week away.”
— Adam Gopnik, Winter: Five Windows on the Season

I couldn’t resist using this quote, just perfect for December 19th.  In Winter: Five Windows on the Season, Gopnik explores the ways winter is a time of human warmth rather than the more ancient view of winter as a sign of our withdrawal from grace.  I especially liked the essay called “Romantic Winter,” a sentiment that could only arise after the invention of central heating!  “Winter’s persona changes with our perception of safety from it . . . The romance of winter is possible only when we have a warm, secure indoors to retreat to, and winter becomes a season to look at as much as one to live through.”

It’s true.  After a drizzly evening in downtown Seattle enjoying the festive lights, I was happy to return home to my warm, quilted bed!




A rainy December evening at Westlake Mall

Giant tree at Westlake Mall and Macy's Star

Holiday carousel at Westlake Mall

Artificial snow falling inside Pacific Place shopping center

Chasing snowflakes at Pacific Place

“I sometimes think we expect too much of Christmas Day.  We try to crowd into it the long arrears of kindliness and humanity of the whole year.  As for me, I like to take my Christmas a little at a time, all through the year.  And thus I drift along into the holidays – let them overtake me unexpectedly – waking up some fine morning and suddenly saying to myself:  “Why, this is Christmas Day!”
     — David Grayson

My husband and I had a date downtown this week for dinner and a movie.  Downtown Seattle is a magical place at night, full of holiday shoppers, families in their dressiest clothes lined up for photos with Santa, and plenty of sparkling lights.  I enjoyed our evening out during this especially festive time of year.