The fire in the wood stove is burning well, so well that I move my chair further away. From the picture window the view is mostly white. The black iron table and chairs stand starkly, half buried in the new snow, the third storm in less than a month. Fat flakes glue themselves to the window where they melt, sliding down and sideways, following the fickleness of the wind. Snow builds on pine branches, forcing them lower, lower…until a strong gust shifts the weight and they bounce upwards, scattering their cargo. They settle back and the loading begins again.
But not buried. It will come to life again, resurrected by some young techie who can perform miracles even with his eyes closed. In the meantime I am forced to use pen and paper, to scratch and scribble, to cross out and throw away. I am forced to concentrate. Concentrateon my thoughts, my vision. Feel the shape of the pen, how it glides across paper, feel the movement of my hand as words leave my mind and are written down. Think of Austin, Dickens, the Bronte sisters, Byron, Shelley…all of those who had only pen and paper and achieved greatness.
The first Mass on Christmas at St. Anthony’s Church is at 6:00 a.m. I am 13 years old and sing in the choir. It is still dark when I arrive, and the church is not fully lighted, just the vestibule and the choir loft where we gather for a brief practice. This first Mass and the last at noon will be high Masses.
Lights come on in the sanctuary, candles are lighted, the heat is turned on. At such an early hour the church is only half filled. Stained glass windows, dark when Mass begins, gradually brighten as the sun rises, and beams of color travel over pillars and pews. The organ swells; our voices blend harmoniously; the fragrance of pine boughs, candles and incense float up to the choir loft as our voices float out over the congregation.