owl in winter

owl in winter

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Rituals, Respite, Refuge

So, here we are, bounced once again into the holiday season. For me, this time of year becomes a time for introspection; a time to consider where I am at this moment and where I would like to be next year at this moment. After all the celebrating, the shopping, the eating, the giving, yes, I do like to take some time and just be silent for a little while. I have some rituals, which provide me respite and which I take refuge in.

Having said that, I did venture out today to do some holiday shopping. Springfield has become Wacko-City, which it generally does at this time of year. If you like stalled traffic, horns honking, pushing, shoving, anxious shoppers oblivious to anything but their own shopping angst, well, this city is for you right about now. Me, not so much. I keep telling myself, next month begins tax season and that aint so much fun so, enjoy the moment now.

And I do love Christmas.

So, back to rituals, respite and refuge.

Since I was a teenager, every Christmas season, I've endeavored to set aside time to just be quiet and read or re-read something I really love. Years ago, it was The Hobbit and the Fellowship of the Rings trilogy. Read that every December, tucked into my Minnesota bed at night with the wind roaring outside and loved it. Isn't it funny how you can pick up on things you didn't read the time before?

The last several years, however, I've read and re-read Rosamunde Pilcher's "Winter Solstice."

Ms. Pilcher is in high esteem in my book. Her writing is rich, sumptuous, human. Who can resist a troubled young teen, a woman lost in love for a man she cannot have, and most of all, who can resist a years old-love story? If you haven't read it, you really need to.

I am in the midst of re-reading "Winter Solstice." These days, instead of tucking myself into my Minnesota flannel-sheeted bed, listening to the wind howl outside my window, I tuck myself into my Missouri regular cotton sheets, and I revel (another "R" word) in Elfrida Phipps, Oscar Blundell, Lucy, Carrie and Sam. It's a good Christmas read and a good ritual, a fine place for respite and refuge. Before the tax man cometh.

What are your rituals? How do you keep your sanity during this topsy-turvy, riotous holiday season?

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