Thursday, December 17, 2020

On the twelfth day before Christmas, just before dawn, snow is falling thick and fast in the little northern city by the sea. The lights of Alcott House gleam into the dark morning, and when I open the kitchen door to coax the cat outside, a burst of flake feathers my face. The crystals are as fragile as dust in the deep cold.

The boys are both asleep. Bad roads are keeping Tom home today, thank goodness, and Paul wasn't scheduled to work anyway. It looks like I'll be the only one on the clock. So I'll edit this morning, then fill out Christmas cards, maybe finish watching Fiddler on the Roof with Paul, eventually braise a chuck roast with mushrooms. In the interstices I'm reading Proust, finishing up Byron, getting myself ready to start a new project with Teresa: a study of Millay's collected poems. And we've been playing so many games: Scrabble, contract rummy, cribbage. Life in the burrow is crowded but also cozy and sweet-tempered.

We're all getting excited about our Christmas meal projects. I ordered the seafood for our Christmas Eve dinner: a dozen oysters, some picked crab, two pounds of littlenecks. Tom is going to make oysters Rockefeller, I'm going to make some crab appetizers, and Paul's going to cook spaghetti with clam sauce. And for Christmas: a Hungarian friend's recipe for cabbage rolls, homemade potato and cheese pierogi, and Paul's babka. The house should smell like Slavic heaven.

So this snow . . . I'm happy to see it. I am like a little underground animal, like Rat or Mole or Badger in The Wind in the Willows: wrapped in a dressing gown, holding a hot cup of tea beside a crackling wood fire, as the drifts pile against my front door. Where else would I rather be?


nancy said...

We have a snow day! In the words of our supt.: "There will be no in person learning, there will be no virtual learning. We are just going to have an old fashioned snow day. Play outside, build a snowman, drink some cocoa and be safe."
Shoveling snow this morning was beautiful - like a prayer.

Dawn Potter said...

What a gift from your superintendent! That's wonderful! Everyone needs a snow day--

Carlene Gadapee said...

I was just thinking while reading your post, o my! It's The Wind in the Willows! And then I got to the end... =)

The chapter that makes me cry is "Dolce Domum"--the Christmas one. "But it's my home, Ratty!"

Be safe.

Ruth said...

Nancy, Blessings to your Supt. That's called Self-Care...wise person.

I will do the ONLY baking I ever do...Bark cookies to give away and then Potato Candy also to give away. Then I shall read and paint and shovel.

Your Christmas menu sounds divine even to this vegan.......Pierogis and kohlrouladen in German .....yum

nancy said...

My favorite chapter is "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" -- my mom read it to my aunt as my aunt was dying . . .