Here we are in that limbo between Christmas and New Year's when it's not really the holidays anymore, but it's not ordinary time again either. While there are some years when I'm so ready to pull the tree down, sweep up the (fake) pine needles, and put everything away, this year I'm finding the time to be rather peaceful and I just want it to linger.
There's no pressure of preparing holiday meals and baking, no more gifts to wrap, no more frenetic rush of errands to run. It's just a time to enjoy the tree lights at night, sip some tea and read through my new books, nibble a Christmas cookie or two, catch up on recorded TV shows.
This morning, I'm looking out my window as I write this post, watching the snow come down, and noticing how pretty the garland and wreath on my fence look, all frosted with white. The house is quiet, except for the ticking of the clock in the hallway and the occasional jingle of dog tags as one of the dogs stirs in her sleep.
I wish this interlude could last, suspending time for a while. 2014 was such a tumultuous year, full of twists and turns and surprises. I would just like to rest for a while and catch my breath, before boarding the next bus to 2015.
Speaking of boarding, tomorrow I will board a plane to head back east for my aunt's funeral. My dear Aunt Riz, some of you knew her through her blog Gifts from the Sea, passed away on Christmas Day. For now, I can still imagine that she is in her cozy home in New Jersey, sipping her cup of tea, surrounded by her beautiful granddaughters.
She was called Riz by those who knew her and loved her, but her given name was Madeline. Such a pretty name for a beautiful person, whose heart was as good as gold. She loved the Jersey shore, seashells, tea, violets, and everything about the Fall. She was a talented artist and an incredibly gifted cook. She gave great hugs. After talking on the phone with her, even though we were 1,800 miles apart, I always felt like I had been given the biggest hug in the world. She just had that way about her, of making people feel loved. She was the youngest of seven children. She adored her family.
My favorite times with her were spent at the shore and at her kitchen table, having cups of tea. We used to write each other letters -- the old fashioned kind of letters sent by snail mail -- and the last one she wrote I received just a couple weeks ago, signed with her usual heaps of love and "hot cider and snickerdoodles" (or some variation thereof) and "I'll think of you when I'm having my cup of tea."
I know that her entry to heaven was a joyful one, for her and for those who greeted her. With lots of hugs for her Bill, her son Billy, my Pop Pop and Grandma, her big sister, and her brothers. I can imagine them all smiling together, laughing and telling stories, and enjoying a pot of Christmas tea.
I love you, Aunt Rizzi. With all of my heart.