December 21, 2005

Happy Winter Solstice!

Cranberry fields, © Janelle Meraz Hooper
Happy Winter Solstice!
As a Southwest seedling planted in the Pacific Northwest, solstice is a big day for me. Through the years, when darkness descended upon my pasture and passing school buses turned on their lights—inside and out—I have tried every craft available to me to help pass the time before it was time to get out into my garden again. I used to have a big box under my bed filled with fabric, yarns, stained glass supplies, scrapbook materials, and watercolors. I became a mediocre dabbler, attaining only so-so skills in any of the crafts. The worst was the year when my daughter and I decided to take a pottery class together. So far, we’ve refused to divulge exactly where in the pasture the pots that we made are buried. If they are ever dug up by archaeologists, they’ll be promptly reburied for fear that their discovery will squelch any further government funding.

Journal entry- (Three young men are in the gold fields; inexperienced, they have run out of supplies after only three days in the wilderness.)
“…We awoke at sunup. It was a bright morning, with the early chill still in the air, but with a promise of a warm day ahead. ‘What are we going to have for breakfast?…we’ve got everything but the food,’ he says, ‘We can pull in our belts for the rest of it.’ … ‘Good Lord, boys!’ he says. ‘Do you know that this is Christmas?’
We were feeling pretty low…but right when I was feeling sorriest for myself and thinking about home and how I wished I was there I began to see how selfish and short sighted I was…
‘Look here, boys, ‘ I said, ‘this is playing it pretty low down on each other. I’m ready to celebrate. Merry Christmas, Steve. Merry Christmas, Mat. Here, you two kids, Santa Claus has come.’
They stared at me as if I’d lost my senses, but I hadn’t. I took out of my belt two heavy little nuggets I’d been saving to send back to New York and gave one to each of them. It was a poor enough gift. Gold was a common commodity with us. They’d have appreciated a hot biscuit a lot more. But it fetched them…I had them smiling.”
Joseph J. McCloskey, 23-years-old at his 1849 Christmas. Christmas in the Gold Fields, California Historical Society

Quote du jour:

He who loses money, loses much; He who loses a friend, loses much more, He who loses faith, loses all. --Eleanor Roosevelt

1 comment:

Gramma said...

I've enjoyed looking through your blog, Janelle. Thanks for sending the link. I'll be back. By the way, I hang out with a Muslim at work who is gracious enough to wish me a Merry Christmas, and have a best friend in Israel (Jewish) who sends Christmas presents to my children. Isn't that the love and respect that Christmas represents? Oh, there's nothing new about Happy Holidays, either; I think some people have more time on their hands than they need, and go out of their way looking for conflict. Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell and others of their ilk will be bringing in more $$ this Christmas season by taking this ridiculous stand.