Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Reflections

Christmas was beautiful this year. My mother has a gorgeous house in the mountains on the border between North and South Carolina. This is her little dream home, where she plans to retire as soon as she is able. She spends most of her time there, these days.

The house is a Timber Frame house, and it reminds me of a refined log cabin. There are no logs, and all the boards are sanded flat, but the entire house is natural wood. The dark circles of the wood, dot the walls and ceilings, as the boards naturally crack as the house begins to settle. There are no nails, and you can see the pegs holding the house together in certain corners. There entire outside wall of the living room is windows, and in the summer is is a lush jungle in the yard. There is a tiny waterfall just past the property line. There is more square footage of porches than on the inside of the house.

I got to the Mountain House on Thursday early afternoon, and my son and I got settled in to wait for the rest of the family. My sister and my stepdad came up in the early evening, followed by my brother. It was really nice. It has been a long time since it has been pretty much just that nuclear family unit for a holiday...other than the addition of my son, the rest of us have been together for most of my life. My brother and I are really close, after all we are only two years apart...and we went through the same trauma of divorce. My sister and I are growing closer and closer all the time. One of my biggest regrets from my addiction is that I never formed a relationship with my sisters (either of them.) in their formative years, as their little personalities developed beyond toddlers and small kids. My whole nuclear family gets along really well, and there was no tension that night. (You know how holidays always produce some kind of tension!) It was really nice, as we ate and then sat up just hanging out.

On Friday, my mom watched the baby for a couple of hours while I took the car down to Brevard, NC...about twenty minutes away. The Mountain House is relatively remote. It is very close to Ceasar's Head State Park, but the nearest grocery store is almost thirty minutes away. There is no Internet of cell phone service at the Mountain House, although you can take your laptop to the State Park and use their Wi-Fi. I just never really do when I am there. It is a nice break, sometimes. I can be reclusive at times, though...and maybe it is just an excuse. (I was never reclusive when I was using...I was always a social butterfly...I am shocked sometimes at how reclusive I have become.)

On Christmas Eve after lunch, I drove down the mountain and into Brevard. It was a gorgeous drive down, as I was able to let go without the baby in the car and really concentrate on feeling the roads. It has been many years since I had driven on mountain roads. The bright blue sky was dotted with puffy white clouds, and the sun shone brightly on everything. Brevard is a cute little mountain town, and my last minute shopping was much better than I imagined. The drive back up the mountain, I had the windows down halfway, with T-Pain blaring on the radio. Wind in my hair, and hip hop on my speakers, I weaved around the mountains climbing up, up, and up...winding to the top, and then back down again, trees naked in the winter to reveal gorgeous landscapes of the vast hills in the mountains of the Carolinas. My son went to bed at 630 that night.

Christmas morning was beautiful, and my son was overwhelmed with all the presents and activity. He was delighted! At ten o'clock that morning, the snow began to fall. Small flurries, fluttering around almost resembling rain. Then, quickly, big flakes began drifting with the light gust of the wind. It had been cold all morning, and the snow began to accumulate, and within an hour the ground was dusted with white. Snow fell all day, sometimes heavy and sometimes lighter but it kept falling and falling. Piling up on the ground, and the darkness of the mountains on an overcast day was illuminated by the brilliant reflective white. It snowed for over twelve hours on Christmas day, and we had to help our lunch guests dig their cars out. It ended up almost nine inches of snow. We took my son out several times during the day, and he had a blast. He made snowballs, and snowmen, and he sledded on a garbage can top. At one point, he tumbled off the sled rolling down a small snowy hill. I waited, holding my breath to see if he cried, but he jumped up and exclaimed, "Fun!"

The next day it was really cold, and I don't think it got up past twenty degrees. The wind whipped across the top of the mountain, chapping your cheeks in minutes. The wind whipped and whipped, blowing snow off the trees reminding me of a blizzard at times. My stepdad and sister went down the mountain, headed towards home while my mom and I settled into a quiet relaxing day. Power can go out up there sometimes, and my parents do not have a generator. The power flickered several times, always coming back on. My mom and I huddled together in the living room, several times as the lights flickered, wide eyed, hoping the power stays on. But, it stayed on and we all stayed warm. We huddled up, enjoying the we avoided travel on the icy roads. When we finally left, most of the roads were clear and it was an easy ride down the mountain.

I must say, I was not at all excited about returning to work tonight. The shift went fine, but I really just wanted a few more days off. It feels like I have not had much time to rest and regain my thoughts and composure lately. Between school, and work, and the book, and the seems like I never get to just relax...and rest. So, I wish I had a few more days off...but the truth is, I need the money right now. The hiatus is over, and before I know will be starting again, and there will be no time for rest then. One last semester.

1 comment:

  1. Your mom's home in the mountains sounds absoultely beautiful!! What a wonderful place to be able to go to for the holidays!! Glad you and your son had a wonderful Christmas!