Saturday, December 24, 2005
Ground lapis for the sky, and scrolls of gold,
Before which the shepherds kneel, gazing aloft
At visiting angels clothed in egg-yolk gowns,
Celestial tinctures smuggled from the East,
From sunlit Eden, the palmed and plotted banks
Of sun-tanned Aden. Brought home in fragile grails,
Planted in England, rising at Eastertide,
Their petals cup stamens of topaz dust,
The powdery stuff of cooks and cosmeticians
But to the camels-hair tip of the finest brush
Of Brother Anselm, it is the light of dawn,
Gilding the hems, the sleeves, the fluted pleats
Of the antiphonal archangelic choirs
Singing their melismatic pax in terram.
The child lies cribbed below, in bestial dark,
Pale as the tiny tips of crocuses
That will find their way to the light through drifts of snow.
- Anthony Hecht
Here it is already December 24th, the day when most of my family (at least the non-hillbilly contingent abroad*) will be celebrating Christmas. The hillbillies are probably bedecking the Camaro (on blocks) with lights and boughs of holly and toasting each other with supersize cans of Coors Light as I type. For our part, we will do the last of our baking for the festivities tomorrow, wrap some presents, go to a candlelight service to sing Christmas carols, and perhaps go look at Christmas lights once it's dark enough. It is already shaping up to be a nice holiday weekend. The great thing about being a half "We celebrate the holiday on December 24th" and half "Fools! Everyone knows Christmas is on the 25th!" is that we get to celebrate TWICE. Add to that that my dog's birthday is December 26th, and it's one long Festivus weekend!
Tomorrow we will have guests for dinner. As usual, I am very much looking forward to it and have had great fun planning the menu (my favorite component of which is presently prosciutto wrapped figs stuffed with roquefort, then roasted and drizzled with honey and a bit of fresh, cracked pepper). I made a couple of test figs yesterady to make sure the recipe wasn't going to be completely jive and ruin Christmas with its gackitude. As it turns out, the combination of flavors is delicious! I would reveal the rest of the menu now, but then it wouldn't be a surprise for our guests, whom I enjoy taunting. So, I'll move on.
In honor of the holiday and my discovery of having been linked (when did she do that???), I've borrowed a picture from my friend MQ, who takes some beautiful photos. This one was taken on a trip downtown last year. Even if I didn't take it myself, I was there, which means I was probably her artistic muse, which means that she owes its success all to me, which means that it's probably okay that I borrow the photo for my blog, right? You wouldn't sue me on Christmas, would you, MQ? This shouldn't be construed as a bribe (unless it helps for it to be one!), but I do have presents for you, even if it may not REALLY be Jesus' birthday. Even if it's not, there's good food, fine company AND presents, so I am there!
So, in the spirit of the holiday (and so nobody is brought down by the birthday revelation), Merry Christmas! Here are some holiday stories and links for your enjoyment:
The Gift of the Magi
A Child's Christmas in Wales
If I think of any more, I will add them.
Have a Happy Holiday!
*N.b. Before any Americans-are-better-than-ANYONE reader gets their panties in a wad* (doubtful, since none of the 3 people who read this are that way!) and tells me to back to where I came from (aka North Dakota) if I think it 's so great, the above comments are not to say that all Americans are hillbillies, just that the majority of my father's bloodline is a bit earthy.