The other day I was driving with a friend, trying to explain why I decorated my house for Christmas. It came up as a part of a larger conversation about the commercialization of the season, how many resources—of time, money, energy, not to mention the other tangibles: trees and wrapping paper and Christmas lights—were consumed every year by Americans getting into the spirit of the season. Was it worth it? we wondered. Is there value in investing in the appearance of Christmas?
He was barely a dot below me, a tiny smudge of movement on the ridge across from us, so small and hidden that it took all my concentration to pick Ryan out. His dogs were like fleas from there, running so frenetically and steadily, covering so much ground, they almost appeared to be jumping from place to place. There they were, sniffing ahead on the trail, then suddenly they’d be hip-deep in sagebrush, then another blink and they were causing through a rocky patch on the ridge. They’d just busted a covey of chukar, we watched them fly for the river below us, scattering as they went. I swear I watched them all the way down but still wasn’t quite sure where they landed, my eyes still green to this kind of bird watching. But my dad thought he saw, and the dogs knew, and so that was where Ryan was going. We were standing watching, waiting for my Uncle to crest the ridge above us after checking out a different spot from where we came up. And that was when we saw the eagle.
Forgive me if I’ve just gotten the 12 days of Christmas stuck in your head, but it’s been stuck in mine ever since I thought of this rewritten line—-”and a partridge on a rocky ridgeliiiiiine!” It wasn’t even technically Christmas time yet when it came to me, it was that dead week between Thanksgiving and December 1st. I stood squinting in the sun as Dexter came to my dad with a mouth full of feathers, his nose crinkling away from the bird, and I thought of it then. That was almost a week ago, and it’s still stuck.
If I’m being honest, and I usually am (for better or worse, I have a hard time not saying exactly what I think and know to be true), I dislike the wind. One of my least favorite weather conditions, besides hail, and also rain/snow mix. Strong winds tend to have some degree of fear to them for me: either the mild foreboding that comes along with the sound of wind whooshing through tall pines; or the gentle midnight spook of wind whipping around the corner of the house at night, making branches scratch ominously; or the real fear of being hit by something falling because of the wind.
It’s Thanksgiving morning at my house, and I’m sitting on the couch with my family watching the Macy’s Day parade. We just came in from a walk along the river, the wind biting and cold, and soon we’ll be heading back out for the annual football game. But for now, we’re enjoying the coziness of a beautiful house in Sunriver. It’s easy to feel grateful here, to feel warm and thankful for the so many blessings I enjoy.