Delights: December 3 to December 9

December 3: An assembly line of elves helped me move the Christmas boxes out of the attic. But I alone unpacked each ornament; the sparkling tree would be a Christmas surprise when my family got home from work. And decorating was a joy for me. I had once asked Jeremiah to help me write down the story of each brass or glass bauble. Today, as I carefully found the perfect perch for each ornament, I thought of all the places they celebrated, the friends who gave them, and the two little boys who chose ornaments each year with wide eyes and wonder. Now, when I walk past those shimmering memories, I say from my heart, “Hello, you beautiful tree.”

December 4: I stepped from the doors of a glorious old church into the sunshine. A community of church, family, neighbors and friends had just celebrated the life of a young woman who, in a life of grace and service, embodied all that is good. I came away inspired to follow her example. And I thought: let us celebrate right now the lives of those around us, let us find inspiration in their gifts and service, and let us be an inspiration in return. Anna taught us that one kindness may not change the world but it will add grace and goodness to the universe and be a blessing in ways we will never know.

December 5: The choir, in rich full voice, processed up the center aisle. For this majestic service of Advent Lessons and Carols, even the smallest choristers joined their voices. In miniature black robes, they held their own sheet music and added their own touches, especially a wiggle or two up there in the nave. When the children sang, “The desert will rejoice and blossom as a rose,” one youngster gave voice for all of us when she practically shouted at the end Exsultate, jubilate Deo!

Behold the beautiful new organ at St. George’s Episcopal Church. I carried at least one of those pipes and one of those curlicues.

December 6: During my walk today, I crossed paths with a golden retriever, which proudly carried a stick as thick as its nose and as long as its body. I passed another dog, smaller this time, but with another mighty stick. The sticks must have been in fine flavor today, for in the last stretch of woods, I encountered a toy poodle, proudly balancing a twig. 

December 7: I place my laptop below the dome of the Library of Congress. It rises 125 feet above me, supported by eight arches, eight columns, and eight demi-lune stained glass windows. Stone cornices in the shape of shells hold a small round fresco at the dome’s apex. And below that a circular fresco salutes Judea, Islam, Greece, Italy, and eight other cultures. On all eight sides, heroic black-bronze statues hover over balcony railings fifty feet high, clustered in bays dedicated to art, philosophy, science, law, history, commerce, religion and poetry. On ground level, desks in three concentric circles radiate from the center with alcoves of books tucked under eight arches. Behind me (I’m sitting between “poetry” and, aptly, “law”) are the Oxford Handbook of Medieval Philosophy and, nearby, the Cambridge History of Medieval Philosophy, ready for me to find the difference. The sun streams in, touching with majesty the seven quiet scholars here. And it touches me, proud holder of a shiny new Reader Card to one of the greatest libraries in the world.

These photos are of the Great Hall of the Library of Congress where, at 3:45 pm on a Tuesday, I was the only visitor. Photography was not permitted in the Reading Room, but that link will show you what my words tried to describe.

December 8: On my way back from the Library of Congress yesterday, I walked in the bright chilly afternoon to the U.S. Botanic Garden, which planted its holiday train display outdoors this year. I didn’t have little boys with me today, so I had to gape and giggle for all three of us. A very easy task, and I wasn’t alone. A small boy squirted around the display toward me. “It’s coming! It’s coming out of the tunnel,” he exclaimed. He and his sister ran toward the train weaving among live plants and lovely tableaux. “It’s going! It’s going!” And off they dashed to follow its lead. 

Bonus: I asked Jeremiah to help me select my two best pictures from the Botanic Garden. (That was also my sneaky way of showing him Thomas the Tank Engine.) Because he couldn’t decide either, Jeremiah, that wonderful Christmas elf, taught me how to create a link to my photos using Imgur. If you want to rumble quickly through more trains — and see the depictions of agriculture around the world — just click here: Holiday Trains at the U.S. Botanic Garden.

December 9: I tend to “go in hard” in everything I do, even yoga. (Sigh.) So as I enter a shape, I try to remind myself to release the clench of my jaw or ease the intensity of my effort. I’ve developed a bit of mantra: “I am the possibility of … softness.” And for that moment I inhabit softness. Today, rising high from a forward fold, arms reaching to the ceiling, cheekbones yearning upward, I breathed, “I am the possibility of … sunshine.” I smiled in surprise. Yes. That is possible for me today. 

What about you? For one moment for one person today, are you the possibility of sunshine?

The setting sun on the U.S. Capitol from the Botanic Garden

Readers, to receive notifications by email each time I make a post, just scroll all the way down this page (next to the “word cloud”), look to the left and click on the black button that says “Join Me!” And if you think a friend might enjoy these, please share the Delight!

If you’d like to browse my past essays, please consult the “word cloud” featured at the very bottom of this post. Find a theme or two that interests you and sift through the sands. Or learn a bit more about my Blog by visiting my Welcome page. You’ll also see links to my four published essays. I’m glad you’re here!

Kevin took this photo from our house. Nate’s reply: “Wow! And that’s not Assateauge!”

21 thoughts on “Delights: December 3 to December 9

  1. Ryan, Anne M - (anneryan) December 9, 2021 — 8:39 pm

    Love the image of being the possibility of sunshine??????. Thank you my friend!

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  2. Hi, Anne. That was fun, wasn’t it? That won’t be hard for you. Sending you and your family hugs and greetings for a lovely holiday!

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  3. So much beautiful Christmas decorations..and a great Holiday season.

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  4. They are beautiful in appearance and in their memories, aren’t they? Thank you for noticing. I hope you have a great holiday season too.

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  5. What a lovely week…so many things to bring a smile to the face.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Softness and sunshine, beautiful intentions for this day! Thank you, and have a wonderful week.

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    1. I’m glad you liked that! They do pair nicely together. And your note reminds me to try again today!

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  7. H-m-m-m! The possibility of sunshine. Well, probably not today as it is a gray day in Maine, and a snowy one at that. 😉 Not a problem for me, though, as I am keen on snowy days. Seriously, though, what a lovely, lovely post. I’ve just started following your blog, and I so look forward to your weekly delights. As I have gotten older, I have learned that not everything must be approached from an intense, “hard” angle. I save that for a few things that really matter—writing and gardening. Housework and cooking? Once upon a time, I did. Now? Not so much.

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    1. Dear Laurie — I appreciate your celebration of the wisdom we acquire as we get older. Slowing down is another piece of wisdom I try but often fail to apply; right now, mere “awareness” is a goal! And re: sunshine, I suspect you don’t need the weather to help you: your garden and your good heart do that already!

      Thank you for following my blog and saying that you look forward to it. That means so much to me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. One of the highlights of my week.

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  8. Hi! I had a look at the page with your train photos and I understand how you couldn’t choose. They are all marvellous. And the library! 😮 Why is it forbidden to take photos in the best room? But still, the ones you did take are gorgeous too. Just lovely all.

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    1. Thanks for peeking at the trains! In the Reading Room, I think they want to maintain silence and decorum (and privacy for the scholars). Darn! The Great Hall is pretty marvelous. It’s my favorite room. I feel like I’m in Italy when I’m there!

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  9. I am so delighted with you Dec 6 entry …. I chuckle at the thought of Mi-re-do, as the doggies appear in descending order, all carrying branches/twigs proudly!

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    1. I’m glad you liked that! They all seemed to know exactly the right size.

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      1. There is something we could learn from this – taking only what we need & can carry?

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  10. I love how you push boundaries and go beyond yourself (I am thinking of your yoga practice in specific, but really, your approach to life in general); and how you challenge us to do the same. Today, I am Sunshine.

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    1. Thank you, Ju-Lyn, for telling me that you are sunshine today. Reading your posts allows me to believe it fully — with no encouragement from me!

      Thank you also for observing my (our!) philosophy of life. I — like you — have found that generous curiosity and thoughtful risk-taking awakens life to us and us to life.

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