Thursday, December 31, 2009

If On A Winter's Night

Many people dislike winter. Snow, ice, cold, wind, bare trees, etc. They spend every day of winter wishing it was over instead of enjoying the season for what it can bring.

I'm just the opposite. I like winter. After the fun and long days of summer and the changes of autumn, winter is my time to settle in for a few months and reset myself. Slow the pace down a bit. Take care of things around the house, pursue my indoor hobbies, read some books, make some nice long fires, and watch snowstorms out the window with a good glass of wine (which, coincidentally, is exactly what I'm doing right now).

Yesterday, it was about 15 degrees in New York and the wind was absolutely howling. Some of the strongest winds that I've ever seen up where I live. Trees were swaying about 8-10 feet in each direction with the sustained winds. I went for a hike in the woods (and froze my ass off!), but it was cool to get to the top of the mountain near my house and experience these winds that sounded like a freight train coming up the hill. Impressive!

My thoughts about winter were reinforced when I first heard about Sting's new album called "If On A Winter's Night". I bought the CD and read the liner notes, and Sting was basically saying the same thing about winter as I was. I'm sure many people share the same sentiments.

His new album is not a Christmas album, it's a winter album. Yes, there are some holiday type songs on there, but more than anything the album creates a mood of winter and starkness. It's an interesting listen and it fits the season of winter perfectly.

Sting speaks about the new CD in this interview. Check it out...

Friday, December 11, 2009

Happy Holidays!

I hope this blog entry brings you some Christmas cheer!

I took this simple photo last year after I decorated the front of our house with Christmas lights. When I was standing back to check out how it looked, this one red light seemed to jump out at me for some reason.

For a moment, I was totally lost in thoughts of Christmas past. As I stood there in the snow, I remembered fond memories of when I was little watching my Dad out the window hanging up our lights (just as I was doing now for my family decades later). I remembered playing with my toy trains and race car tracks at Christmas time, decorating our tree as we listened to Christmas music, the sweet smell of gingerbread cookies baking, the smell of the Christmas tree, our visits to New York City to see the holiday lights, the sound of presents tearing open on Christmas morning, playing in the snow with our new sleds, and so much more!

Memories generated from looking at just one little light...

It reminded me of the joy in my kids' eyes when we had all of our Christmas lights lying on the floor in our house as we were getting ready to hang them up, and I plugged them in. The room was suddenly flooded with colorful light and my kids smiled from ear to ear! I remember my Dad doing the exact same thing when I was little....and I remember be equally as happy to see all of the colors.

The message of this post is: "Enjoy the simple things at holiday time"! Everyone gets so caught up in shopping, rushing around to find a sale, planning parties, worrying about finding the right gift, etc. I think it's wise to slow things down a bit and simply relax and observe the season. Light a fire, grab a glass of wine, and sit on the couch doing nothing except listening to a Christmas record. Don't do anything else...just sit, listen, and enjoy.

For some extra fun, try spying on your kids and listening to their conversations about Christmas when they don't know you're listening. They wonder how Santa gets down the chimney with the big bag of toys. They wonder how he makes it all the way around the world to every family in just one night. Great stuff....

Enjoy the holidays!