All is calm. The air is cool and the cattle are pastured. Every once in a while I hear the hum of a dusty Fed Ex truck on the high road delivering last minute packages. Huddled quail flutter about when I approach their blackberry bush unannounced. A rooster and his two hens follow me around the property wondering if I might lay some scratch on the winter ground. Inside the house, my husband is attending to our sick child. Even the most idyllic moments are mixed with the realities of life. We're all a little under the weather.
The most keenly felt reality is that my brother, who died at the beginning of Autumn, is not here with us. He was supposed to be. We planned this trip last year when the world was bright and spirits were high. But this year, I am filled with melancholy and longing. My chest cold rattles away in my bones and my brother's absence is sharp. I am surrounded by beauty and family, but winter has a way of reminding me that some plants, even the the hardiest, do not survive the hard freeze.
Hug your loved ones tight.
Buy the good kleenex.
And have yourself a merry little Christmas.
Light always follows the dark night.