A rarity, blood
oranges at the market.I buy several and
remember her delight when she found them again decades after leaving her home
in the Sicilian hills.The mottled red
orange skin, the reddish flesh, juicy and sweet.
I add goat
cheese to my cart and remember her stories about buying cheese and milk from
the goat boy every morning.
I remember her
dark eyes and warm smile and her deft way with a cooking spoon.
I arrange the
red orange segments, spiraling them on a plate, toss a few cubes of goat cheese
here and there, squeeze on some of the red juice, sprinkle with olive oil, salt
and a generous shake of freshly ground black pepper.
There is drama
in the opening chords. The piano alone—
six times the same chord, beginning pianissimo, getting louder with each
repetition. Then a sweeping blend of
violins and piano. I listen and forget
the arduous task I’m doing, peddling my exercise bike. The music lifts me beyond the mundane aspects of daily life.
on the windows—
introduction of horns and full orchestra.
The piano, romantic in tone. A
quiet orchestral melody. Hollywood
borrowed the melody for a film years ago.
Everyone of a certain age would know it.
I’m there in the
concert hall. Spotlight on the pianist,
his head bent over the keys, fingers flying. The audience is in shadow. All
still but for the occasional cough or
sneeze. Bike exercise completed, I
remain listening. An increased tempo in
the third movement. Passages of piano
fireworks, each note quick, clear and sharp.
I’ve listened to this so often I can anticipate each phrase, each
note. Then the full orchestra again,
soaring with the melody and finally closing with a strong crescendo.
Today, I begin to remove the holiday decorations. Some have
been part of my holiday celebrations since childhood, ornaments that I inherited
when my parents passed away. Others are from my husband’s family. There are paper
ornaments made by our children and grandchildren. Ornaments from places we visited and from
this grip of cold icy winds from the north freezing all they touch a time to recollect the warmth of you in my life the coldest month each day a variation on the theme of winter I sense nuances of change both in mind and body frigid morning my breath leaving traces... vanishing like memories of loved one is the soul just a vapor? Cattails Kernels Moonbathing
a Saturday before Christmas, Kris Kringle visits our village. Tall and slender in a dark red suit,
reminiscent of pictures on old European Christmas cards. He carries oranges and peppermint sticks and
lumps of coal. The children wait
quietly. Well mannered, there is no
pushing and no whining. Their last
chance to prove how good they have been.
child whispers to Kris Kringle
holds out his hand
Holiday decorations are few. Wreaths in shop windows or colored
lights. Nothing elaborate. Snow provides the best decoration. And the moon, illuminating snow covered
fields and woods.
a blue-black sky
There is a midnight Mass, and the small
wooden church is crowded.The responses
in prayer are smooth and in unison.No
laggards here.We all sing or try
to.Familiar hymns in Latin or English
become unfamiliar in French.I hum