I remember being eight and wearing a corduroy jumper and sitting in the recliner in the darkened living room, shining a flashlight through a filigree bell, watching the shapes dancing on the wall. Yeah, we’re heathens, and we don’t believe all that other stuff and I suppose I should just call it Solstice and be done, but the word itself invokes childhood and family and that time when you hang on the edge of doubt, willing that elves and magic are all real, and I think I prefer to keep that.

So we’re churchmice this year (again) and because of it we’re being all moral and noble. Only one gift came from a big store (well, two if you count my car battery), and the rest are handmade or from Goodwill or from locally owned stores.

We’re actually celebrating this year, and by “we” I mean “me” in that I’m the one who seems to be the core and the one who gets to decide how much energy we’re going to put out, and by celebrating I mean putting up the tree and the lights and the decorations for the first time in years. I actually had a birthday this year, too. I said out loud out of nowhere last night, “We’re safe and warm and dry, and we’ve got food to eat and medicine to stay alive.”

I hope you and yours can say that too.