"It's starting to feel more like Christmas to me. The temps are staying low, there's the smell of wood smoke in the air, my tree is up and decorated, cards are trickling in, and TG is home."
I wrote this several days ago - just one of many posts that wither on the vine because I run out of time to finish them before they're outdated. Those low temps are a mere memory for me now ... today might have been the first day of the winter solstice, but it felt like shorts and flip-flop season here again.
Even so, I do feel Christmas with all of the twinkling lights, the Merry Christmas wishes everywhere, get-togethers with friends, and the anticipation of having all of my kids back in the nest in just a few days...
And though it's not much, I've gathered a few gifts for others - just thinking of giving helps bring on the Christmas spirit, doesn't it?
I think it's the power of the Christmas spirit that has kept me from caring too much about my camera lens or worrying about replacing it or being too upset about all the cloud cover that kept me from witnessing red moonbeams last night during the lunar eclipse.
I captured a few okay photos of the moon, some before the eclipse started and a half dozen during the partial, but during the total eclipse, the paparazzi clouds crowded around so close I couldn't even get a glimpse! I'll post the ones I snapped on Confessions later - and I'll resist tinting them. (Well, I might play with one or two, but I'll 'fess up about it.)
Meanwhile, here's a quick Long Hollow update:
....We're officially in a drought again - the bill has arrived for all of those beautiful, sunny days we've been blessed with the last few weeks, I guess. It's hard to believe just a few months ago the creek and ponds were flooding, and now they're drying up by feet a day.
In the mornings on the back deck, I can still hear the little waterfall, but it's barely a dribble now and will soon be gone. There's no promise of any significant rain for months.
....Rocks have appeared on the side of the damn dam - not just piles of rocks, but orderly rocks, reminding me of the old stone bridges in Virginia. If the stonework is continued all down the side, it wouldn't be such a sore sight. Still not as beautiful as the pond we had before, but not quite the scar we've had on the edge of our property, either.
....There are still a few small flowers blooming along the road...or at least there were a couple of weeks ago when I took these. I've been walking in the dark lately!
....The bad news is, these vicious burs are also growing, in the field where Belle and Max like to chase mice. We pulled dozens and dozens out of Max's fur a few weeks ago - like velcro on velcro!
....We're heading into Cedar Fever and Major Allergy Attack Season here in Austin. Juniper berries are ripe, waiting for the pollen explosions that look like a tree has caught on fire - poof! These warm temperatures just feather that love nest along.
My challenge this year is to capture one of those explosions on my camera. Tough to do! You never know which one is about to blow! And part of the challenge will be keeping my camera focused while I'm sneezing!
....The rest of this week I'm just focused on Christmas, though - on the simplicity of love and of giving, exemplified by the birth of Jesus so many years ago. I'm going to send cards out to those who I know look forward to them (and will forgive me if they arrive a day or two after Christmas Day), wrap up a few gifts that I hope will bring smiles to faces I love, and tomorrow I get to visit Hope House again, witnessing and recording the youth of our church bringing smiles to the faces of others - of strangers - with pizza, gifts, a few off-key carols, but mostly with the proof that someone cares.
I hope you have a beautiful Christmas week, simple and full of love.