Holiday celebrations in my family consist mostly eating food, playing games, and talking. We all gathered at my parents’ house on Christmas Eve to talk and eat, and we had a big dinner here on Christmas Day. I’ve spent the last week mostly sitting by the fire, with bowls of hot soup and plates of cookies, hanging out with everyone. It’s been wonderful to have kids home, extras here, and family in town.
On Saturday, I met some friends downtown at a café that serves vegan food. We crowded around a wooden table near a window that looked across at a little urban park. Since there were four of us, we decided we’d each order a different sandwich, cut them in four pieces, and each get to try all four. So while we talked about the holidays and our plans for the new year, we also rated each sandwich. I am proud to say that the sandwich I choose — made with a smoky-flavored tempeh bacon, tomato, and lettuce — finished first in our rating system.
Saturday night, my husband and I went to an Italian restaurant for a meal with his family. His sister and niece were in town, and his brother joined us with his wife and two of his sons. While we talked, I ate fresh Italian bread with dipping oil, salad with olives and peppers, and a bowl of angel hair pasta with veggies and marinara sauce.
After a week of holiday meals and snacks — and a pretty sedentary life — I woke up this morning ready for a long walk in the woods. I pulled on my boots, grabbed my winter coat, and headed out my back door. We’ve got snow, but just an inch or two, and the ice on the puddles is thin enough that it kept cracking under my boots. I wandered along deer trails, following their tracks back to the groves of hemlocks. The cold, fresh air felt great after so much time in by the fire.
The woods are mostly brown and white on a winter day. In a few places, I could glimpse some green mosses and green ferns beneath crystals of ice, and branches that were reddish in the sunlight. The young beech trees hold onto their leaves, a goldish-brown against the snow. In the winter, I can see far into the woods, catching a glimpse of a white-tail deer as it dashes away at my approach. I tramped around, not even following my trails, crashing loudly through the ice on the puddles, until finally, I was hungry for breakfast and hot tea back at my house.