We are coming up on the winter solstice, the darkest time of the year. On my calendar, Dec. 21 is notated "Winter Begins." Here in the North Country, it seems to us that winter began some time ago. As closing time approaches at the store where I work, the windows grow black. When I put on my hat and coat and lock the door, anyone would think it was midnight. Under these conditions, who would give up the comfort of going home and knitting, tucked up under an afghan in an easy chair, in order to travel 15 miles to Lake Placid for an evening of entertainment?
A younger person, for one. As Prince Hamlet so patiently tried to explain to his mother, Gertrude, hot blood rightfully belongs to the younger generation. Sad but true; I find hibernation increasingly attractive every winter.
I would not have ventured to the Lake Placid Center for the Arts last weekend had I not been encouraged to do so by a friend. I am so happy that I was, and did.We went to the "Nutcracker," presented by the North Country Ballet Ensemble. Bright and beautiful, magical and radiant with fun and good humor, the ballet made going out supremely worthwhile. The music, the dancing, the costumes and the good cheer lit up the winter night and defeated, at least for the bright moment, the urge to crawl under a down comforter until spring brings the tulips.
Forgive my bragging when I say that I know some of the dancers from Keene Central School, and it was wonderful to see them perform with such grace and skill. I also thoroughly enjoyed watching dancers I do not know at all, from the "Nutcracker" prince to the little scampering mice. From now on I resolve to defy the season and attend the "Nutcracker" every year. Of course, it helps when someone else is driving.
Having no talent for music myself, I am all the more in awe of those who do, and grateful that they charm the rest of us with their performance. You might think it odd that someone with no talent for music would go through her life unconsciously making up songs or humming little snatches of song that come to mind prompted by mundane events, but so it is with me.
Putting on my hat and coat and steeling myself to go out into the cold, for example, I find myself singing "Go Now," a song made popular by the Moody Blues some time back.
"Since you've got go, oh you better go now, go now ... I don't want to see you go, but darling, you better go now!"
Of course, anyone who overhears me singing to myself is apt to say "What?" assuming that I'm mumbling. Like the crow in Aesop's fable, however, I am ready to believe in my own ability. The songs I make up are generally in the country and western genre, and they just come to me. Sometimes I make up a whole song in a day, but other times one line will spontaneously come to mind, to be joined by rhyming lines that swim into my consciousness over the next week or month. That's if I remember any of it for that long.
For example, the phrase I'm working on now goes "When your senior moment/Stretches into years ..." So far, though, nothing further has crystallized. In arrears? Christmas cheer? Several beers? It will happen, don't worry.
A friend of mine claims not to understand the people who say that Christmas sneaks up on them. How so? He wonders. Dec. 25. Same time every year. I must say that I am one of those people, incomprehensible to him, who thinks that Christmas is far off in the future until all of a sudden it's upon us, in all its fury. Did you get your packages in the mail yet?
I have not. I just remembered that my daughter Molly asked me some time ago to send her teapot along with the holiday items. Let's see - yes, there it is, on the top cupboard shelf. If I can get it down without breaking it - good. And now I can move Aunt Ruby's bud vase to the top shelf.
Why on earth am I humming "Moving On Up," the Jeffersons' theme song?
"We're moving on up to the East Side, to a deluxe apartment in the sky ..."
Oh well. Have a good week.