Later, after the sky has changed
with a rim of pink
lacing the Ruby Mountains
to a pale airy blue,
we shuffle from pajamas
into jeans and carhartts
and leave the warmth
of the wood stove for the cold
bluegold of the day. We sort
the three oldest calves
into a new pen, leave them
with a bit of grain to ease
the transition. They watch us
from behind long frosted lashes,
as we leave them
to their new home.
For me, the day that follows
Christmas morning has never looked
quite like this. As a child
my family went skiing after presents,
or my sister and i began to pack
for our cross-country flight
the next morning to visit our dad.
I still feel somewhat unaccustomed to
the life of a farmer, the serious
need of the animals waiting for you.
The responsibility of taking
good care. I am even less prepared
for my own willingness to trade in
my perceptions of what a perfect holiday
should look like, to walk through cold
sunny fields to do the work of a rancher
on Christmas. But I am willing, and I
continue to be surprised by my ability
and become someone
I never knew I could be.
This year I was very aware
of the fluidity of tradition.
Most of our Christmas storage bins
stayed unopened in the basement.
Instead, simplicity. Fewer decorations,
few gifts, less stuff. More time
and space for the meaningful
bits of our days, the elemental.
Wood for warmth, candles for light,
meals grown and raised
entirely on our own land.
And I keep waiting for the let down,
the post-holiday low after
so much anticipation.
But I'm starting to realize
it's not coming this year.
That I am ready to move forward
into the new year, into the heart
of winter, with a new kind of trust
in the rightness of my days.