Monday, December 19, 2016

The year without a Santa Claus?



"What a difference a day makes...24 little hours..."

There was a sheen on the rooftops as I opened the shutters. A finger-snap click of cold on my cheeks from the air. Something had shifted towards Christmas, or as close as a Christmas postcard as we tend to find in Provence.

Out with the dogs, Kipling turned and dashed through the grasses, frozen overnight, with manic energy. The shadows tinged blue, broken underfoot. My laughter burst into wispy trails. I felt my lungs expand, bright, as the sun cut through the fog draped on the tops of the mountain on the other side of the Rhône, where I knew that it would be dipping down into the prehistoric graves dug deep into the rock of St. Roman. Old and new, light and darkness blending then, as it does, until the frost began to melt. So I doubled back to get my camera, as I do, exchanging the lenses to my 55 macro so that I could lean in closer.

Looking, I forget where I am. I know that doesn't really make literal sense and that is why I find it intoxicating. Just a little bit overwhelmed by beauty, that kindred swoon. What a gift it is when our heart beats so hard that the pulse dances in our wrists. For whatever reason.

This is my beribboned box, quite possibly the only that I will open.

It appears that this will be my Year Without a Santa Claus, a holiday as in discordance with the past as all of the 2016 that has come before it.

I know that I am not alone in bubbling up questions of why and how this season. What constitutes full and meaning. Maybe not the only one who is not listening to carols as they are a bit too memory laden this go 'round. Because it has been a confusing time for so many as the moon will tell you if you listen.


Pourtant, I am certain that we are all still somehow searching with childlike impatience, as there are so many presents to enjoy. It may not be typical. And there might not be a tree. But they are most certainly there.

I leaned in. The crystal shards and liquid diamonds reflected hope, dotted and strewn. I balance in the midst of them with crackling knees that are wet in the dew, in good health; being creative, the breath that continues to breathe me. More than a bit lost still, yes, admittedly, but determined. I will find my way. Purpose will come but how lucky that I love and am loved. And that is as good as any traditional mistletoe kiss. This is me, condensed.


Lifting my head, I had to squint from the switch of focus, a line extending from the dance of the minuscule outwards to the far distance. Two forms are engulfed in the last of the golden mist. They are so far on the horizon as to already be in 2017. The corner of my lips lifted slightly as I looked forward to the unknown, in and beyond what the next 24 hours might hold.










Merry Christmas to those that are celebrating and Happy Holidays to all.
With much Love and Gratitude to you for your kindness and continued support throughout 2016.

You are still here. Merci avec tout coeur,

H.


65 comments:

Lorrie said...

Beautiful images and equally beautiful words and thoughts, Heather. May Christmas joy surprise you in a most unexpected way!

Bill Facker said...

Beautiful piece, Rocket, moving forward! Wishing you the happiest of holiday seasons!

diana ferguson said...

Who needs Santa Claus when there is so much beauty going free? Your writing and photography are as good as ever. Best wishes for Christmas and good luck in 2017

Judith Ross said...

Hi Heather,

Thank you for your gift of these images and words. It reminds me of advice I was given over 33 years ago as I was being rushed to the hospital for an emergency birth, when my baby was in danger. Just "go with the flow," I was advised. And I did and luckily, because there were a lot of lucky turns that day, he is fine. In fact, I am meeting his plane tonight. When one is open to life's twists and turns, it leaves room for resilience.

But, back to your gifts in the above post. There is one photo in particular that I would love to have as a print to hang in my new house in 2017. A possible business opportunity? Or, better yet, this series would make, as one reader has already suggested, an excellent calendar. Etsy, anyone?

Sending buckets of love your way during this holiday season and beyond.

Laura said...

Your images are so lovely, Heather. The dew/frost create some amazing colors and textures. Although this season may be different for you and not the usual, you seem very open and receptive to the beauty around you. You are creating, and obviously growing with every day. Happy Holidays and wishing you a wonderful winter solstice on Wednesday!
You

Katherine said...

Your photos are nearly as beautiful as you are. And you are right about many things, but especially about your being loved. You are so loved, by so many, including me.

Christmas is a thought or a few, a fleeting time when finding beauty (and love) are really all there is. Merry Christmas, dear Heather.

Unknown said...

Best wishes Heather. We all have some years that are worst than others. This was your year and it is almost over. Thank you for sharing yourself with all of us. It truly is the greatest gift anyone can give.

Bisous
Ali

Loree said...

The frost makes everything so beautiful. Merry Christmas Heather and may 2017 bring good and wonderful things.

Emm said...

Joyeux everything to you. The coming year will be better, it has to be.
Just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and yes, the pictures are even more gorgeous than usual. You have outdone.
Bisous.

robin said...

Yes, Virginia, this WAS the year without a Santa Claus! (you know that I can back you up on this one). And I, also, am still having trouble wrapping my head around Christmas. And yet, as you so beautifully pointed out (and we discussed earlier), gifts abound. Much to be grateful for, much beauty to take in - including these amazing photos - who knew frost and dew could be so transportive? I LOVE them. Hear hear on Etsy and calendars! In the meantime, please keep focusing on beauty, puppies and those who are sending you love daily. I think Santa Claus will return in 2017, almost certainly. And please tell me that you watched the "Snow Miser/Heat Miser" song that you linked to!!

Puzzled said...

hello..I'm a new reader, looking for blogs about living in France, and French life in general. I have read back into your archives a bit, but I cannot figure out what you are writing about... writing with so much innuendo, this must be a closed readership for a few friends "in the know"? Very lofty,complicated prose with hidden meanings unless having exclusive knowledge. Oh well.

eleni said...

Merry Christmas Heather. I usually only "lurk" being way much older than other bloggers......... I love your photographs, your column and your dogs. Dinah Washington was a most beautiful singer, hard to top her. I admit I had a few weepy moments. I do love your columns, thank you.

Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...

Hello, Heather writes and photographs a beautiful blog. Lately there have been a few changes in her life, and she is finding and forging a new path after an accident. Do stay and enjoy her beautiful Provence, and prose. Not only does she share her beautiful photos but her beautiful life.

Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...

Heather,

Happy holidays and a very Merry Christmas to you my friend. I hope that you are well! You ahem been in my thoughts and prayers and I have wondered how you were, but my travels to Argentina and preparing for the holidays have prohibited me from sending you a note.

TAKE CARE of YOURSELF first and foremost! I have been exactly where you are now, trust me, you will survive and you will be a different and better version of ourself no matter what happens.

Sending you a hug and hoping that the magic, beauty and love of Christmas does visit you in Provence.

xo Elizabeth

Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...

Indeed there was a Santa Claus!

Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...

Heather, Etsy is an excellent idea! Calanders and cards and more!

RebeccaNYC said...

Despite the uncertianty, I love the hopefulness of this post. Happy New Year, dear Heather.

simpleimages2 said...

You captured the winter jewels in words and photos wonderfully.
Merry Christmas. Joyful New Year.

Patricia said...

Even so, may you find moments that are merry and bright. Thank you for the gifts of your words and photos.
Warmest wishes.

Lyn Gough said...

Thank you for the beautiful photos - an inspiring gift. I hope 2017 will be a wonderful year for you.

Maria Anagnostopoulou said...

Ach, you give me hope with your beautiful pictures and you courageous words. Christmas is for me a bleak season (have lost two of my most beloved during it). Yesterday I went to a church (I am not a churchgoer), lighted two candles and then cried and cried. I did not cry for a whole year. But that was good. When I went out to the bustle of the city again, everything looked better, brighter, more hopeful. I decorated my house after two years and I am preparing a dinner for all my girl friends. So hope that gives life goes on! Many many kisses!

Heather Robinson said...

And may the same arrive for you, Lorrie. I know that you appreciate gifts in all sizes. :)

Heather Robinson said...

Much Mahalo, Bill. And to you as well on the other side of the world!

Heather Robinson said...

I love your question, Diana. :) That is exactly it. Thank you for the compliments and please accept my well wishes in return!

Heather Robinson said...

Judith, thank you so much for sharing this story with me. How grateful I am that you were able to listen to that wise advice. I definitely have been trying but now will need to take a more active role in creating a new life, just as you delivered "yours." I hope your son arrived safely.

And I have been thinking about possibly selling prints for a long time. Not all of my files are strong enough - some of the above photos were taken with my iphone ;) - but I will think more and merci Elizabeth for chiming in.

Heather Robinson said...

Yes, I am really looking forward to the Solstice this year, Laura. Turning towards the light! Thank you always for your kindness and I am sending wishes of prosperity and joy to you.

Heather Robinson said...

You know how sentimental I am, so perhaps you won't be surprised that your lovely words brought happy tears to my eyes? Just a little bit? You are loved too, beautiful Katherine. Your friendship is precious to me.

Merry Christmas. xo

Heather Robinson said...

Thank you, Ali. Sending you much happiness...

Heather Robinson said...

Loree, I hope that you are having a beautiful holiday season in Malte and that 2017 also brings joy to you too!

Heather Robinson said...

Merci, Emm. Sending a warm hug to you. Holding onto your message of hope.
xo

Heather Robinson said...

Of course I did! :) I love that special.

Love you so much, Sister. It was so good to talk to you yesterday. Put my ship back on course...I hope! love you love you love you

Heather Robinson said...

Oh, Puzzled, I just kind of write like that these days. ;) Not all the time though and I can easily understand your being perplexed. There are two links within the text for newer readers but they aren't super obvious either. It is definitely an open readership and I really care about the community of great people who are here.

If you go back to say, mid-2015 on back in the archives, there is a ton of what you are looking for. If not, there are other great blogs such as My French Country Home and Our French Oasis who also handle these subjects.

Heather Robinson said...

Thank you, Elizabeth. xo

Heather Robinson said...

I am so grateful that you came out of lurking to deliver this lovely gift of cheer to me. Thank you, Eleni. And I have written about this a while back, but for some reason, Life has offered me the fortunate chance to become friends with quite a few women in their 70s to 80. I am so grateful for the perspective and presence that they share. They inspire me greatly.

Merry Christmas to you too, Eleni.

Heather Robinson said...

Hello! You went to Argentina!! I am so behind on what is going on with everyone. I hope that it was an amazing trip. Your advice is perfect and exactly what I needed to hear today. I have been, but have been slipping up a bit in how I have been talking to myself, so important.

Taking your hug in with gratitude and sending you my wishes for a very beautiful Christmas.

Heather Robinson said...

I am so glad that you could hear that. It is there. Not a bright light sometimes, but definitely there.

Happy New Year to you too, my beautiful friend. xox

Heather Robinson said...

And to you and Mrs. Abstract, Edgar.

Heather Robinson said...

I do, Patricia. I do. :)

Warmest wishes to you too!

Heather Robinson said...

Thank you so much, Lyn. And I hope the same for you!

Heather Robinson said...

Many, many kisses in return, lovely Maria. I wish that you were here so that I could give you a warm hug. I know, hugs are very American, but sometimes they are what works. I am so sorry for your losses and am moved to hear that you are both able to honor your grief while looking forward to. You inspire me. I hope that you have a wonderful dinner with your friends!

Julie Bresette said...

Absolutely gorgeous photos!! Merry Christmas!!

Trudye said...

Beautiful, evocative pics and prose, as always. How lucky you were to capture this gift! Wishing you peace, comfort and joy during this Christmas season and beyond! T xx

Silke B said...

Who needs Santa Claus if one can have these photographs?

Very beautiful images! Love them!

Silke B said...

Oh, I just saw somebody already asked that question before. :-)

And I am not at all surprised!

Maude Ciardi said...

Thank you for the beautiful pictures and words. You are gifted. I have a very large family which makes my Christmas so special, but I have lost 2 of my sons and am divorced. So it is a difficult time for me, but I am blessed and do have joy in my heart, So time will help you heal . Have a Merry Christmas and blessed New Year

Heather Robinson said...

Merry Christmas to you too, Julie.

Heather Robinson said...

Thank you my dear Trudye. I wish the same for you in spades and am sending you many of your favorite "Mwah"s...

Heather Robinson said...

It is a good question! A witty one!

much love to you

Heather Robinson said...

Maude, I am so truly sorry to hear of the loss of your sons. And that we have shared such heartbreak over our couples' ending as well. But yes, family is a true balm. I am so incredibly grateful for mine, even if they are far this season. And I actually am seeing that time is taking its effect. I am slightly embarrassed to admit that it has taken nearly a year but I am grateful that it is happening regardless.

Wishing you also a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.

Bernadette MacGregor said...

Merry Christmas Heather. Wishing you all the best this season, and even better for the year ahead.
Love Bernadette

Lily said...

Such beautiful photos and words. Wishing you a Merry Christmas, Heather, and a very good 2017.

Gina said...

Dear Heather, You have had a very difficult Year. I am so sorry. I am sending healing thoughts and hope that they will do their work.
Merry Christmas and please give Ben and Kipling an extra hug and an extra Christmas treat. ox, Gina

Maria Anagnostopoulou said...

hugs and kisses and "sweet" words like "I like you so much, I am eating you alive"!!! are very greek too. God bless you!

Heather Robinson said...

You are so wonderful, Maria. I hope to meet you some day. :)

Heather Robinson said...

Much Love back to you, Bernadette.

Heather Robinson said...

Thank you Lily...I am sending the same warm wishes to you!

Heather Robinson said...

Gina, I am so grateful for your good thoughts and am still sorry that we did not get to meet in Arles. I will deliver your hugs and treats, it is a promise.

Maria Anagnostopoulou said...

Joyeux Noel and Merry Christmas from the Mediterranean Sea to la Mer Medirranee!

eleni said...

Dear Heather, a very Merry Christmas from Toronto. Best wishes for the New Year. Good things ahead.

Ann Lee Gibson said...

Oh, Heather! I've found your blog only this morning and have just binge read so many of your posts. You write with honesty and beauty. And your photographs -- oh, my!

I hesitate to comment on anything you've reported on here other than to say thank you for sharing your journey. In seeking community, the differing details of our lives are less important than our need to feel recognized and reflected in others' lives. This morning your blog has made me feel community.

Merci et bonne année 2017 (and some hugs, too). God bless us everyone.

Heather Robinson said...

Maria, I am sending so much love to you during this special season. And yes, I was just on the Mediterranean Sea, so we were connected!

Heather Robinson said...

Thank you, thank you, dear Eleni.

Heather Robinson said...

Look at you! You arrive with nothing but loveliness and goodwill in your response and I think all over again, "thank goodness that I keep this blog going." I am so grateful that you found me and that you have enjoyed what you found. That you also felt a sense of community, well, that just made my day.

We all need a Dickensian blessing, most certainly. Bonne année 2017 à vous aussi.

helen tilston said...

Hello Heather
Wishing you a New Year full of joy, adventure and friendship.

Helen xx

gayle said...

Your photos IPhone or not are wonderful. I would love a series.