I was running errands this weekend, minding my own business and wrapped up in my own thoughts. I walked hugging my sweater to me as I checked tasks off of my list, feeling the first of the cooler breezes that will become the norm as fall soon ends and winter begins.
That's when I first noticed it.
The preparations - they were being made all around me. The rearranging. The reorganizing. The unpacking and dusting off of things that have been asleep for nearly a year.
And hanging in the air around every inch of it was that growing anticipation. The excitement. The rush that almost made you feel like you were already late to the party.
|Plains cottonwood tree.|
The holidays. Turkey-shaped kitchen accents and cornucopia decorations are taking over the shelves. Grocery stores are stocking extra cranberries and gravies and pumpkins and roasting pans.I can practically smell Thanksgiving dinner on the table.
And, without a moment's hesitation - as if to say these two winter holidays have been fused together - there are also the other decorations adorning the shelves. The reds and greens and whites. The lights. The gingerbread men and even the fruitcake. And the large man with the red suit, white beard and boisterous laugh is getting his rosy cheeks and belly that shakes like a bowl full of jelly ready for the children who are eagerly awaiting his arrival.
November is half over, and the last month and a half of the year are about to whirl past us in their usual dizzying fashion. Like a strong wind gust, the holidays will be here without a warning … and then they'll be gone.
|Slippery elm tree.|
I tend to feel like a hermit during this time of year. The cold stings and I stack on the layers to keep warm, loving the moments inside by the fire and hating the moments outside, rushing from car to building in a shivering flash. It's like my body needs time to adapt to the changing weather, and like any warmth-loving organism, it stubbornly rejects the initial changes.
The cold gets into my bones at this time of year. I think a lot of people tend to feel the same way - isolated and cold in the midst of this holiday preparation flurry.
Many people think of deciduous trees that drop their leaves during the fall and winter in the same fashion - cold, barren and uninteresting. Boring backdrops that lose interest in the midst of bright, recognizable color feasts.
But if you get a chance I highly recommend you fight this urge to retreat and ignore trees that are losing or have lost their flashy leaves.
|Rock elm tree.|
Study the framework of these trees against the landscape and you'll find their serene structure is full of life and personality.
- Tall oaks standing strong and defiant against the worst of the bitter wind and snow - bending for no one.
- Weeping cherries curling down as if hugging themselves against the winter chill.
- Crabapple trees hanging on to their ruby berries like holiday decorations and providing sustenance for winter birds.
- A row of trees huddled together, a holiday gathering of their own.
Before the holiday season rushes into full speed, take a moment around this first busy holiday - Thanksgiving - to reflect on these outdoor wonders. Even though they fade into the background, they are still marvels to be thankful for.
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