Weeks go by and I don’t pay enough attention to the small moments of grace. Coming in just now, I almost missed the winter jasmine blooming by the stairs to the porch. Almost missed the tiny movement of the winter wren who ducked in and then out of the woven house hanging out my study window. (No birds ever nest in it but the wrens haunt it for insects and I suspect they might gather in it on cold nights.) On our walk up the mountain, we thought for sure that someone else would have seen and cut the grand fir we hope to bring home for our Christmas tree this year — but no, the tree is still there! If you’ve ever smelled Abies grandis, then you’ll know why we’ve got our (collective) eye on this one — I crushed a branch in my hands this morning and they still hold a little of that wild green aromatic scent. (And if you’re wondering why we don’t just cut it and bring it back now, well, it’s because we’ve always cut our tree on the morning of Christmas Eve so we can decorate it through the long afternoon leading to the Eve, a habit from the years when our children were little and we needed to keep them busy on the day before Christmas.)
So grace, the seasonal gifts: a woodshed filled with dry fir, pantry shelves lined with preserves, a warm house, good health, love. The yellow stars of winter jasmine in a cedar lattice. I know that all of this could change suddenly so I want to notice now and be grateful. It’s easy to be careless. Easy to remember the dark moments, the small bitter slights. But right now, hands still green with the mountain’s grand fir growing in a hidden slope, I am full of gratitude and hope.