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Archive for December 24th, 2009

Pilgrimage Statistics

Consecutive Days Riding:  75                              Consecutive Days Blogging: 76

Today’s Mileage: 4                                              Total Trip Mileage: 644

 I hope this note finds all my family and friends warm, safe and prepared for the Christmas celebration. I remember all too well from childhood how this day was to be the longest day of the year.  I now realize that scientifically it is close to one of the shortest days, but you could never have convinced me of that when I had to endure the existence of presents under the tree and the impending visit by Santa.

Snuggling in front of a fire!

I decided to give myself a bit of a break today.  As I was perusing the web looking at Christmas Eve images, I was struck by the multitude of symbolic scenes associated with this day.  Many of them tapped into memories of my youth, of my religious upbringing and of that joyful anticipation of Santa’s visit. In addition, there were the times away from home in the military, when I came to appreciate the idyllic images of snow and pine trees. While white sands were wonderful and palm trees provided shade, it was not the same as the sound of snow crushing under your feet and the sight of your vaporous breath fading into a clear blue sky.

I decided we would share some of these images associated with the season. Interspaced among these scenes is a Christmas Eve poem, by Bill Watterson, the creator of Calvin and Hobbes. I believe it captures that youthful egocentric view of a joyfully simple world, including a fire, a best friend (Hobbes the stuffed tiger who lives in Calvin’s world) and the anticipation of gifts to come. 

Santa and raindeer!

We have many options. We can focus on the intellectual and religious meaning of the holiday, the birth of a savior God.  We might also or instead focus on the simple emotions of giving and receiving, of caring for family and friends, of hot cocoa in front of the fire place, of savoring old memories and making new ones.

Mixing symbols and memories!

On window panes the icy frost

Leaves feathered patterns,

crissed and crossed.

But in our house the Christmas tree

Is decorated festively

With tiny dots of colored light

That cozy up this winter night.

Crhistmas Eve Feast!

Christmas songs, familiar, slow,

Play softly on the radio.

Pops and hisses from the fire

Whistle with the bells and choir.

Snowmen, decorated trees and warmly lit houses!

My tiger is now fast asleep

On his back and dreaming deep.

When the fire makes him hot,

He turns to warm whatever’s not.

Christmas Eve Service at Salisbury Cathedral!

Propped against him on the rug,

I give my friend a gentle hug.

A Christmas Carol: Have you been naught or nice?

Tomorrow’s what I’m waiting for,

But I can wait a little more!

Guiding Stars!

In closing, I’d like to again wish all my family and friends a joyful and loving Christmas Eve.  I’m working on a special Christmas greeting for my distant family members and for the enjoyment of all my friends.  Till tomorrow… Peace on earth and good will to all!

Remembering heros far away!

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