January 20, 2014

The Business of Life

A few Monday morning observations:  1) Weekends need to be longer than two days.  One cannot possibly "get it all done", no matter how "it" is defined on your list, in two days.  I would happily work ten hour days if I could have a three day weekend.  2) I know it was time, but my living room now looks really empty.  I loved my Christmas tree this year, and kept it up as long as I possibly could, but I reached the limit Saturday afternoon and down came all the ornaments.  I think in large part I was stalling because I knew it was the last time I would see my daughter's precious ornaments on our tree--by next Christmas she will be married with a home of her own and all those sweet memories will be lovingly placed on her tree instead.  That's the way it should be, but still...part of my heart broke a little as I packed them away on Saturday.  

I did, however, learn something interesting on my road trip to Chicago yesterday.  I normally start feeling guilty around the start of the second week in January if my tree is still up, but this weekend a lovely woman I met at a baby shower regaled me with stories of St. Canute, the King of Denmark from 1080-1086, who extended Christmas until January 13.  I am not Danish, or Catholic, but I feel a fondness for St. Canute and extend my warm thanks for giving me a guilt-free reason to leave the tree up until the 13th!  My Celtic ancestors won't object if I become an honorary Dane in order to celebrate Christmas a little longer, right?

When I returned from my trip to Chicago yesterday, my living room looked rather drab and quite empty without the tree's reflection twinkling in my bay window.  As I rearranged the furniture and put the room back to rights, I was thinking about all the memories I've accumulated over the years during the holidays. I decided my gratitude jar needed an entry about how blessed I am to have a life where memories are created and cherished.  I then sat down with my family to watch last night's installment of Downton Abbey, and one of my favorite characters, Mr. Carson, must have been reading my mind!

The business of life is the acquisition of memories. In the end, that's all there is.

And my third weekend observation?  That Mr. Carson is right about mornings as well, especially Monday mornings!  As he observed in last night's episode "I find there is something foreign about high spirits at breakfast."  Well put, Mr. Carson.  And with his words ringing in my ears, I'm off to make breakfast and head for work, resting easy in the knowledge that it's okay with Mr. C. if I'm not full of jollity this early in the morning!

    Winter Memories

      Within the circuit of this plodding life
      There enter moments of an azure hue,
      Untarnished fair as is the violet
      Or anemone, when the spring stew them
      By some meandering rivulet, which make
      The best philosophy untrue that aims
      But to console man for his grievences.
      I have remembered when the winter came,
      High in my chamber in the frosty nights,
      When in the still light of the cheerful moon,
      On the every twig and rail and jutting spout,
      The icy spears were adding to their length
      Against the arrows of the coming sun,
      How in the shimmering noon of winter past
      Some unrecorded beam slanted across
      The upland pastures where the Johnwort grew;
      Or heard, amid the verdure of my mind,
      The bee's long smothered hum, on the blue flag
      Loitering amidst the mead; or busy rill,
      Which now through all its course stands still and dumb
      Its own memorial, - purling at its play
      Along the slopes, and through the meadows next,
      Until its youthful sound was hushed at last
      In the staid current of the lowland stream;
      Or seen the furrows shine but late upturned,
      And where the fieldfare followed in the rear,
      When all the fields around lay bound and hoar
      Beneath a thick integument of snow.
      So by God's cheap economy made rich
      To go upon my winter's task again.

      Henry David Thoreau

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