Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sundays in December

December is one of the nicest times of the year for us desert-dwellers. The days can be cool and pleasant, and the nights bracing and downright chilly. For people who routinely get through summer high temperatures which regularly venture north of 110 degrees, any temps below sixty degrees send us scurrying to our closets for our heavy clothing (which normally sit undisturbed for eleven months) and we gleefully relish the chance to wear our sweaters and hoodies and cardigans.

December also brings a quiet, contemplative mood to it. It is the end of the year and everyone starts to get philosophical and reflective about everything that has transpired, good or bad. Days are very short in duration, and by 6pm the car headlights come on. The nights seem endlessly long, with the sun staying in bed until well past 7am. The sun is low in the south for the whole day, causing shadows to be longer. Its light is softer, less harsh, more golden in tone and it brings out the color in the tree leaves. These days and evenings are just perfect for comfort food, like hearty soups and stews, which warm both the body and the soul.

Sundays in December are particularly enjoyable. They are soft, gentle and very welcoming, like an old sweater or a warm, comfortable pair of shoes. The upcoming Christmas season dominates all and you can fairly smell the fragrance of pine trees and fresh-baked Christmas cookies, see the holly boughs and hear all the great Christmas music. It is a time for introspection and taking time to realize what is truly important in this crazy, out-of-control world we inhabit - things like friendships and traditions and being grateful for and happy with what you have, as opposed to fretting about what you don't have and probably really don't need.

It's true when they say that as you get older, you appreciate different things in life. Maybe over the course of many years you start to realize which things are fleeting, temporary and transitory, and which are more satisfying, long-lasting and gratifying. I find now that I can get a great deal of pleasure and fulfillment out of enjoying quiet, serene Sunday afternoons in December.

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