Sunday, December 15, 2013

Bah, humbug? Maybe not.

On the approach to Christmas, I usually suffer anxiety over gifting, confusion about who will be where and when and whether I am feeding throngs or a few, how clean the house really needs to be and other angst-laden planning.  This year, however, for some reason, I feel much less anxiety and much more general appreciation for what will be.  I am calmer about the next few weeks and feel thankful for whatever will transpire.

Father Christmas in St. Raphael, France
This year, Christmas will be new.  Our cat, Max, seems to be improved after a run-in with the vet's searing instrument, my sister is recovering after surgery, our father edges closer to 96, my sons are hale and contented, our health is good.  Somehow it just doesn't seem remotely plausible that I should do anything other than be thankful and enjoy these riches. 

The world is a scary place fraught with problems, hatred, ugliness and indescribable beauty and generosity of spirit.  I am privileged enough to live where I can hold some of that ugliness at bay and I can embrace the blessings in my life. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Jack Frost is Eating my Lemons

Here in the Central Valley of California, winter is vastly different from what I enjoyed/endured in my early years.  In upstate New York, I remember when the temperature plummeted to 52 degrees below zero.  In Massachusetts, the snow fell and fell and fell.  And not so long ago here, winters gave us endless rain and fog.  In more recent years, winters have meant occasional rain—not nearly enough—and much less fog than previously and an occasional overnight freezing temperature.  This does not bode well for our reservoirs even though they are easier winters for us homosapiens to endure.

This early winter/late fall, we are expecting freezing weather and even a possibility of snow.  According to the local newspaper, The Sacramento Bee, there was a dusting of snow in 2002, 1996 and 1988 and significant snowfall in 1976.  I remember that 1976 snowfall when I lived in the San Francisco Bay area; and based on my youth in New England and New York, I would never have described it as “significant.”  Rather it was enough to roll up the tiniest snowman, make a snow angel and maybe fashion a few snowballs to throw for the dog to fetch.  And those were only possible if done immediately after the snow fell because it melted away in record time.

Tonight I am worried for my precious Meyer’s lemon tree that I've been coddling for several years as we’ve been told the temperature will fall below freezing.  After many years of a lemon-less tree, we finally have what can modestly be called a “crop”—nine lemons in all.  Lest Jack Frost consider the demise of my citrus treasures, all have been plucked from the scraggly tree.  I’ll not yield a single lemon to Jack Frost.