Happy (post) Thanksgiving, my pineappley readers! I know Thanksgiving looked very different for a lot of people this year, but I hope that, even if your plans were disrupted, your pie was delicious and your turkey succulent. One can bear a lot with a plate full of delicious comfort food, right?
My Thanksgiving was weird too, but what else is to be expected? I started off with an early Friendsgiving in Jersey, which was perfectly lovely, then for my first time, I spent the actual holiday alone, house-sitting in a massive house in my favorite neighborhood. Quite a change from the boisterous crowds of children scarfing down smoked turkey that I’m used to. Well to be fair, I wasn’t quite alone; I had a most disapproving dog to keep me company. That is, I don’t know if he actually disapproved of me, but he did follow me around, looking at me like he couldn’t believe I just sat in that chair or ate that bite or put on my shoes or petted him in such a way. I really thought he might excommunicate me, the way his reproachful eyes followed me around. Seriously, look at his side-eye.
Fortunately he deigned to put up with me and it was a lovely holiday when I was deliberate about noticing it. Long walks in the golden sunshine which shone through the feathery heads of grass and loitering red and yellow maple trees… streams of sunlight through the French doors in the lovely house I stayed in… long sessions on the beautiful upright piano, practicing Adele and Billie Holiday and CityAlight songs; can’t anyone say I don’t have a wide range of tastes…. hours in the softest bed of the year, with plenty room to actually stretch my legs… huge plates of Thanksgiving food brought to me by a kind friend… I did get bored enough to start washing windows on my final day there, but nobody can complain about that.
My favorite bit was when I decided to get a peppermint mocha at the local Starbucks right at golden hour, and I wandered through the enchanted streets, sipping it, and wondering at the low sun which could turn ordinary things to such beautiful magic that it made my catch my breath. I suppose it’s a very enneagram four thing to be hurt by things which are too beautiful, but C. S. Lewis got it too. Just read “Surprised by Joy“, if you don’t believe me. We’re kindred spirits, Lewis and I, even if I would never in my life have risen to the realms of his notice, had our time tables overlapped.
Anyway, now that we’ve got Thanksgiving out of the way, let’s celebrate a little because December is here and are we ever glad about it! At last I can listen to Christmas music in the open, and even the grinchiest grinch cannot judge me anymore. As soon as Thanksgiving passed, I noticed lights beginning to sparkle across the city, and I cannot wait for the annual pilgrimages down 5th Avenue and through Dyker Heights. I’m hoping that with the tourist madness mostly diminished this year, the lights will be even more magical without strangers’ elbows in my ribcage.
Speaking of Christmas music, a few weeks ago I got to go to church for the first time since March to record a song for the virtual concert we’ll be putting on shortly. It was the loveliest thing to stand on that familiar stage (even with only two companions) and sing with all my might (even if into a camera instead of into a crowd). I can’t wait to see how it turns out, and for you all to see it. My choir roommate also did a violin solo for the song, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”, and as her practice strains swirled around the apartment, I kept thinking how this song really must have been written with this particular year in mind. Listen,
O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel
O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel
Haven’t many of us felt like captive people mourning in lonely exile this year? Haven’t our spirits been longing for cheer as we lurk in death’s dark shadows? Isn’t the promise of Emmanuel the most wonderful thing we could sing of about now? Really, I’ve never empathized so much with the longing for a Messiah, and I guess that’s one more good thing this year has given me.
Do you have Christmas plans? Since going to see my family isn’t a good option, not to mention I’ve already spent a third of the year in North Carolina, I plan to hole up in a crisp, white hotel outside of the city and take long walks in the winter air with peppermint mochas. I’m promise I’m really not obsessed with peppermint mochas, it’s just that nothing encapsulates Christmas in a cup quite so well. I have my fingers (and legs and arms and toes) crossed in the hope of snow, because I’ve never ever had a white Christmas. The one Christmas it snowed in North Carolina, I spent the day driving to Michigan, where all the snow promptly melted on my arrival- just my luck. But either way, it’ll be lovely, with nothing to do but walk and eat and read and walk some more.
Speaking of my reading plans, my internet friend Emily wrote a book about her year of travels across the US which I am struggling to make myself wait to read until my Christmas vacation. I used to always spin nonsense about Lyn and the architect who lived across the corner from us in downtown Mocksville; she would yell at him to stop working so late, and I would tell her that someday they’re going to have a Hallmark romance, which she sputtered at to no end. Emily put my nonsensical matchmaking into her book, and I’ve never been more proud. Now that my unsuccessful matchmaking is immortalized, I can die a happy woman. If you’re the nice kind of person who likes to support budding authors, you can get the book yourself here.
Enough chatter for today. I just wanted to take a minute to cheer you with the news of Emmanuel come to ransom us, and wish you a joyous December.