Winter Solstice

     If you are away for a while this time of year, and miss the gradual shortening of the days, the disappearance of light is shocking. Darkness lingers late in the morning and descends early in the afternoon – but – all the better for shining twinkle lights and Christmas trees!

     We were away in Kauai – for a glorious time (a year delayed) with both families. Days of body surfing and boogie boards with Mrs. Hughes for the girls, Lord B floated the “Lazy River” that forms by the shore near the place where we stay, and Sweet Brother, having never known Hawaii pleasures, happily paddled in the shallows and dug in the sand.

Each night after dinner the cousins searched by flashlight for frogs and giant snails. They mastered walkie-talkie lingo enabling fun communication between the condos (code named Jungle Base and Tower Base). Every morning I walked what we came to call the “cookie walk” – with Sweet Brother in the stroller and one or the other, or both Sweet B and Lord B. As we walked a path beside the beach, my companions adventurously tromped cross-country through a patch of trees, spoke of birds and baby chicks, stopped at the “laboratory tree” to include found treasures in its crannies, and sang made up songs to appease Sweet Brother (he does not like to stop).

     The Alaskans had gone home before our trip ended with three days of serious storm – gale winds and torrential rain – but warmth.

     After missing holidays and trips last year, to be together in that warmth felt luxurious. Last year we all tried so hard with strange, lonely holidays – and here is normalcy (sort of) returned and welcome. While the pandemic slides into endemic –the California contingent will come for Christmas.

     I’ve been silent here on the blog – so many books I’ve missed writing about – Anthony Doerr’s new book “Cloud Cuckoo Land,” “Patchwork: A Life Amongst Clothes” by Claire Wilcox, a curator at the V&A, and a revisiting of all the novels of Elizabeth Taylor, beloved if not well-known, British writer from the last century. Treasures all.

     My excuse is the show next summer – I want to explore books and pictures about gardens and plants, and I have been rereading my books and visiting the Miller Library. So far, I’ve only produced dummies of the artists’ books and bookmarks I’d like to make, but I have plans. Without the fresh flowers of the warm seasons and the inspiration of growing things – this will be a different way to prepare for a show.

In the meantime, along with our Christmas card (drawn by Lady B this year!), I send you warm wishes that these days at the year’s nadir are full of holiday cheer!