Armchair Peregrinations

December 25, 2003

Christmas morning. It's about 2:30 am and I am up as usual. Fighting against sleep to do the things I want to do before finally going to bed. I love this most intensely quiet time of day. I like to believe that I am the only one up.

It's not cold this Christmas, just very pleasant. I like to take walks in the neighborhood especially at this time of year because the trees are half in autumn and half in winter. In a couple of weeks most of the leaves will be gone, but for now we can still see and observe autumn.

Last night we had a delicious feast of a Christmas dinner at my brother's house at the beach, opening gifts afterward by the fire in the fireplace. Everything was decorated so beautifully. It was just a very nice, cozy Christmas Eve, only the second Christmas ever at the beach, if memory serves me. There were only four of us, but it was very special.

I had lunch with my dear friend and co-worker C__ the other day, a regular, twice monthly ritual. We always enchange little gifts each year. Prior to meeting her for lunch, I was thinking about how I needed some kind of Christmas decoration in my apartment as I usually don't have anything Christmasy. I opened my gift bag from her at the restaurant and what should be inside but a beauiful glass globe with white Christmas or winter tree and snowflakes that drifted down over the tree when I turned it up side down and then set it back upright on its base. I've always thought that was such an enchanting thing to see. What a lovely gift. I shall treasure it, just as I treasure her friendship.

December 13, 2003

The cold weather has come this week with winds and rain. All day today it was gray, cool and windy. I liked it since it is so reminsicent of December. This is the month when I hope it will start to get cold, and that it has been.

The trees are rapidly losing their leaves now. But there are enough left for some color. All the Bradford pear trees now are turning crimson red. They are truly beautiful in late autumn. I noticed in Marion Square two maple trees planted just in the past year or so. They have turned yellow/orange, a rare sight indeed in Charleston's Fall color display. Some maples tree will do fairly well, but they never seem to get very big. The woods are full of swamp maples, but they don't turn color in Fall. Those rare maples trees in th Square gave me a taste of the real color of Fall, something we usually miss completely down here.

December 3, 2003

On my lunch-hour walks since this past summer, I have, on most days, passed a large and tall sycamore tree growing the the midst of the city, surrounded by traffic and cars and buildings. I have grown quite fond of this old friend, and marvel at its beauty each time I go by. It is becoming the tree downtown whereby I mark the passage of the seasons. In summer, it was robust and thick with those big, huge sycamore leaves, cloaked in finery. But every day this autumn the leaves have gradually become more brown and crinkled, and are now starting to fall. Soon it will be a bare winter skeleton of a tree, with branches free of encumbrances to reach into the sky. It has become a tree for all seasons to me. And I imagine it along a stream or river in the countryside. I find a certain kind of peace in observing it with awe and wonder.

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