December 29, 2004 ~ Christmas Day
On Christmas morning, the tops of all of the mountains were white with a thick coating of ice, and every blade of grass and every laurel leaf down in our valley had a thin coat of frost lining its edges. The clouds curled down between the mountains, and the cold air stung as it entered my lungs.
I took Rose with me on a morning hike along Suicide Ridge, and she licked the ice off of leaves as we went. When we reached Dogwood pasture, I was stunned by the view of the icy mountains, and Rose moved around me, catching grass seed tassels in her mouth. She looked up, startled, when a red-tailed hawk broke from the trees, and six angry crows flew about him, taunting "caw caw caw" and grazing his wings. They flew over us and down to the lower pasture.
Rose and I continued back down through the woods and to the athletic fields, where students have constructed a large walking labyrinth with stones. I walked the labyrinth with Rose (she spent most of her time going outside the lines--what are rock lines to a creature who depends far more on scent trails?). When we reached the center (in a spiritual walking labyrinth, the center is symbolic of God), I poured some water from my bottle into the Tibetan singing bowl there. She drank...
...then turned around and hacked up part of a chicken bone. "That was very reverent of you, Rose."
She looked up at me with an expression that asked, "Can we go?"
I emptied the singing bowl, dried it, then turned it upside-down as it had been when we'd come. I lead her from the labyrinth and we made our way home. I spent the rest of the day caring for Monty and worrying over his paw, laying on the couch with Rose, and talking softly with Morgan in the fading light.
The day passed by, and I hardly noted that it was Christmas.
We didn't celebrate, we didn't eat a big meal, and no presents were exchanged. Between moving and getting the dogs, we hadn't had any time to shop or make presents--nor money, for that matter (and I feel pretty badly about that), we didn't have any time to cook, and we had to cancel our plans to have my in-laws for a visit. Life had simply overwhelmed the holidays.