Friday, December 25, 2009

Bah humbug

Did you know stress and depression can ruin your holidays and your health?

Big duh!

Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves? Why does everything have to be done to perfection? Why do we have to spend so much, for so little pleasure?

This year we had some family health problems, and I decided I wasn't going to get out all my decorations. After our cruise we agreed not to spend as much. Since I had lots of stress getting everything ready for the church services, I told Dave he was in charge of Christmas dinner. And after trying to cope with laryngitis for almost three weeks, I finally called the doctor for an antibiotic.

And you know what? It worked.

No, it didn't alleviate all the stress of the season. But it did make things better.

Now the worst is over and I can just chill.


Sunday, December 6, 2009

S'no wonder

What is it about the first snowfall that excites us, that brings back that sense of childlike wonder? Even the most jaded, the most inured to snow has to admit to that little frisson of elation as those first frosty flakes fall.

I was thinking about that today as I drove up to my mom's. We only had some wet snow mixed in with the rain in South Jersey, and it melted the moment it hit the ground. But as soon as I headed north out of Philadelphia, the ground was white, and the foothills of the Pennsylvania mountains were a winter wonderland.

I can think of at least three reasons I love the snow. First, it's a silent surprise. Unlike rain or wind or other weather phenomena, the snow falls without sound. You can be sitting around reading or watching TV or doing whatever you like and all of a sudden you look out the window... OMG! It's snowing! Even when you're expecting it, it's still a thrill.

Second, it's pure, covering all the ugliness of reality with pristine whiteness. Yeah, I know, it probably picks up all kinds of pollutants from our tainted atmosphere, and it certainly isn't pretty after it's been sitting on the side of the road for a few days. But that initial fall of virginal white sparkling in the sun makes my heart swell.

Third, snow is beautiful.
Every snowflake is unique and wonderful, a lacy filigree of crystals forming a work of art. I realize it's science, a matter of chemistry, air currents, temperature, humidity and so on. Still, I can't help but imagine God looking down after creating the first snowflake and saying, "Oooh, pretty!"

Silent, pure, beautiful. That's what I think.

What do you think?