Here in New York it feels more like L.A., breaking 70 degrees on Christmas Eve! I’m here instead of with my family because the unseasonable warmth caused thick fog yesterday, which made my flight be cancelled. I will travel on Christmas Day instead, so all my plans are out of whack.
The good news is, my friends have stepped in so I won’t spend Christmas Eve alone. I will see my family tomorrow. But this unusual warmth reminds of all the places where it’s routinely warm at Christmas. In Australia, it’s summertime; in Brazil, it never gets cold. Even in L.A., winter tends to be rainy and gloomy only in January.
Did you know there’s a prelude to “White Christmas?” Irving Berlin wrote the song from the perspective of someone who’s not home for the holidays, and is homesick for a traditional Christmas. Here’s how it reads:
The sun is shining, the grass is green, The orange and palm trees sway.
There’s never been such a day…in Beverly Hills, L.A.
But it’s December, the twenty-fourth,…..
And I am longing to be up North.
I’m dreaming of a white Christmas…
It’s the most melancholy of Christmas songs. It kind of hits that sweet spot of sad, nostalgic, and lovely all at the same time.
So here’s wishing all of you a Merry Christmas, white or not. May your days be merry and bright…
This spring is a bit out of control, too early, too much, too warm too soon. The last few days we’ve had a cooler spell here in New York, which reminded me of the “winters” Mother taught me about.
Spring in Tennessee normally comes in an orderly, predictable fashion. Usually it starts in February with the forsythia and crocuses blooming. By March spring is well under way, with gradually warmer periods interspersed with cool spells. The redbuds bloom, then the dogwoods. Finally, in April the blackberry bushes flower.
Cool spells tend to come right when these bloom, and apparently this was always so. Mother and my aunts and uncles all referred to “redbud winter,” “dogwood winter,” and “blackberry winter” as if these were known dates on the calendar. I suppose to a farming community they nearly were.
I guess this is dogwood winter we’re having now in New York, if such a thing exists up here. Everything is out of sync this year. The Bradford pears (stinky, showy things) burst into bloom two weeks ago, along with the Japanese magnolias, which were nipped by the cold and have turned brown. Yet the dogwoods have not bloomed. So I hope they were spared the cold and will open soon.
Sometimes I feel very far from the farm. I’m glad to be working with my brain instead of my back, and God help anyone who had to depend on me to raise food! But I miss the patterns of planting, cultivating, and harvesting. There’s no seasonality to working on a computer. But even here spring intrudes, bursting out along the parkways, in yards, in the scattering of woods. It’s time to think about planting. It’s time to grow.