Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Two sunsets



On the last two nights before the winter solstice, I stood in the backyard and watched the mountain. It was cold, and I wasn't feeling well, so I was bundled up in a heavy fleece jacket. When I photograph the mountain, I tend to stand on top of the little brick stairs outside our bedroom for a better view over the garden wall at the other end of the yard. I need to duck underneath an apple-tree branch and lean my right shoulder hard on the rickety screen door, but otherwise it's a fantastic place for a mountain shot.

The first night was clear, the cold air sharp in my tender nose, my aching lungs. The mountain put on its show, turning pink for just a few minutes as the sun set. Then it darkened from the top down, gray to black. Soon, there were stars and stars. That night, it snowed a little and we woke up to a whitened mountain. Clouds lingered, foaming over the peaks all day. By sunset, bits of blue sky showed through. No watermelon glow that night, though. I watched the clouds until they were all I could see: pale, pearly wisps in a darkening sky.

Inside my house, lights were on. There was food in the oven and a candle burned on the stove. The Christmas tree, that symbol of pagan celebration, glowed brightly in the living room. My children were under afghans, reading books. My husband was on his way home from work, in his old car that refuses to die. I was tired and I felt poorly and I was panicking a little about being sick during the week before Christmas, but I mostly felt calm. It would all get done (and it did). I thought: I am so, so rich, in all the ways that really matter. I have a comfortable home, healthy children, a happy marriage. I have an ever-changing mountain and an endless sky. At Solstice, and always, I am astonished by the bounty overflowing in one little life.

26 comments:

  1. Beautiful, all of it. I love your mountain and never tire of your photos of it. Merry Christmas to you and your three bears. Xx

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  2. "I have a comfortable home, healthy children, a happy marriage. I have an ever-changing mountain and an endless sky."

    All the things that matter. This was beautiful. Your thankfulness shines brightly. Thank you for sharing it!

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  3. I love your mountain pics too. Get well soon Jennifer, relax and enjoy x

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  4. What more does one need to be happy...
    Although I don't have the ever-changing mountain (nor the children, but hey, I have my donkeys, my chickens and my doggy. Oh yes, and a great hubby ;-)), I know exactly how you feel... Sometimes it is good to reflect on what truly is necessary for happiness. Health, love, a home.. All the rest may be nice extras, but not essential...
    Merry Christmas for you and your family !!
    Xxx

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  5. It is always good to take a moment and count our blessings. The rest is the proverbial icing on the cake. Moments of peacefulness, thankfullness and happiness are what it's all about. Merry Christmas to you and all your bears!

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  6. Lovely post, you express such contentment

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  7. Beautiful words, beautiful sentiment and beautiful photos. Thank you Jennifer x

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  8. your mountain and your skies are beautiful x that you are so grateful for your simple pleasures is beautiful too x

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  9. What beautiful photos, so different, but both lovely. How wonderful to be able to look out and see this mountain every day. Do you ever climb it? Maybe not, it looks very craggy and rocky. Your words are beautiful too, it's good to remember all of the good things isn't it. I do hope you feel completely better soon. CJ xx

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  10. What a beautiful post. I don't think I would ever get anything done if I lived in your house - I'd be too busy taking in the view of that gorgeous mountain; you're so lucky. Hope you feel better soon. x

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  11. Such wonderful words I hope that you are feeling better and at peace and that you will have a great Christmas. Hugs to you. xx

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  12. Beautiful mountain photos... just breathtaking! I appreciate your appreciation for all the things that really matter in life. Thanks for the reminder. I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas!

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  13. Thinking of you and as always enjoying your writing and photos-
    Merry Christmas, Jennifer-
    Jemma

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  14. Sooo beautiful, Jennifer...all except for your illness. Wishing you well and trying to calmly knit one last gift before Christmas morning...and trying to nonchalantly admire the basketful of cards waiting to be sent.... Your one little life is very dear to me. Thanks for posting and giving me the opportunity to appreciate you and your family and the lovely world around you. xx

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  15. Lovely words Jennifer, I hope you are completely recovered and that you and your family have a wonderful Christmas :) xx

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  16. Beautiful.
    Have a great Christmas with your family.
    X

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  17. Yes, you are rich in all things that matter and I am, too. Thanks for reminding me of this.
    Have a wonderful Christmas! x

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  18. Beautiful post, Jennifer...Have a very wonderful Christmas with your family!

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  19. Such a lovely post and beautiful photos of the mountain. Wishing you and your family a wonderful Christmas.

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  20. Merry Christmas Eve and Christmas to you and yours!

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  21. Wishing you and yours a wonderful Christmas xx

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  22. I was awed and amazed at that orange mountain image! Bravo on that capture! I loved the way you have to position yourself to get that mountain in photos. Made me smile. You and I are alike in the way we appreciate our lives in this big huge universe. Enjoy tomorrow.. we have a nice one planned, too.

    ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉
    *M*E*R*R*Y* *C*H*R*I*S*T*M*A*S*!*
    ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉

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  23. Beautiful images and beautiful sentiments Jennifer.

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