Traditionally, Christmas is a time for warm memories and the
gathering of friends and loved ones. It's a time to remember
the one whose birthday we are celebrating. A time for families
to gather around glowing Christmas trees and fireplaces.
Giving gifts is also part of
This Christmas season, I have some gifts
to share with you. Even "if I were a rich man," as the song from
"Fiddler on the Roof" recalls, the items I could purchase from a
store could never convey the spirit of this Christmas from me to
The gifts I offer you are not mine to give.
But I hope and pray they might be yours, not only for this
Christmas, but for all Christmases to come.
To you personally and to your family
the gifts of love, a long and fruitful life, and at least for this
season, peace, whatever your circumstances. Courage to
face your daily problems. Hope, knowing even the darkest day
comes to a close.
Especially for each of you, joy.
The big and little moments of joy that
come from an appreciation of the wonderment that surrounds
us. Yours for the small price of opening your senses to them.
A flock of geese overhead. Spider
webs robed in sparkling dew. A bluebird in spring. Waves
of wildflowers along the roadside or on the mountain meadow.
The tiniest crab scurrying across the sand. Iridescent eyes of
squid reflected in the sweep of the lighthouse beacon. A
western grebe cavorting in the harbor.
The kaliedoscope of color flashed by
a leaping fish. Snow capped peaks. Warm spring rain in
your face. Tulips and crocus peeking through the last
leaves of fall. The flicker returning to the feeder with her
new offspring. Wild roses on the riverbank at high water's
crest. Rabbit tracks in new snow. Sunset on the mountains,
pink tinged with alpine glow. Laughing loons in the morning
Howls and yips of the coyote and her
pups at dark. The high-pitched call of the eagle. The rush
and roar of a river falling over boulders. An almost
imperceptible murmur of a high country brook. Scratchy
chirps of baby birds in the nest. Rustling of dry leaves in
the wind. Winter winds turning the bare trees into wind
harps. The steady throb of waves smashing into the shore.
Muskrats kerplunking into the spring creek. Bugling elk.
Soft gentle snow.
The lush heavy scents of fir and
cedar. Air nearly exploding with the sweetness of the
alfalfa harvest. Crisp nose-tingling cold of sub-zero
mornings. Heady drifts of smoke from the burning of
fall leaves. Musky marshes. Perfumed clouds of
blossoming fruit trees. Freshly cut grass. Newly turned
soil, warm in your hands. Peepers in spring.
Marshmallow waterfalls cascading
downstream. Tadpoles scurring about. Fuzzy baby ducks.
Whiffs of dandelions in the wind. Mare's tail clouds high in
the summer sky. Magical hummingbirds. Quacks from
unseen ducks. A fairy ring of mushrooms. Golden tamarack
needles carpeting the ground. The booming of a fall grouse,
echoing back from boulders.
Gatherings of birds on a wire. Fall magnolia
buds puffing themselves up for spring. Gophers stretching on their
tippy toes, faces to the sun, soaking up the spring sunshine.
Bracken unfurling. Red, gold and yellow of trees framed against
granite outcroppings. A heron, standing on one foot, poised for
dinner. Blue meadow skippers sipping russian thistle.
Trumpeter swans drifting across a deep blue
sky. Dahl porpoises playing tag. Mamma merganser with her
babies hitch-hiking safely on her back. Nodding mounds of
trillium. Pebble beaches and skipping stones. Tide pools.
Sea quills and bright starfish. Squeaky docks. Waterlilies
with breeze ruffled leaves. Sandhill cranes clacking and preening
in a meadow. Aspens strewing their leaves like sequins. Red
osier against gray skies. Creeping arbutus. A fork in the trail.
Riffles and holding water. Rising trout.
There is a world full of miracles. Just
for us. More than a lifetime full of pleasure and joy. Yes,
each of these miracles is yours. Your gift to have and share.
Yours to file away in your personal memory bank to draw out
whenever you wish, or need. Forever.
The happiest of holidays to your and
yours from J. Castwell and the Ladyfisher!
~ Deanna Birkholm