If my posts these last months have a theme of “cold”, it is not just reflective of an emotional landscape of isolation, it’s because I am always sonofabitchin cold. Physically. Tonight I’m wrapped up in as much wool as I own but only my hands, in their ridiculous over-the-top red alpaca mittens, are truly warm. As we move through the crowds on the night-lit street I gain a little circulation through the activity of searching for a hot cup of coffee. It’s my first time at the Montesano Festival of Lights (where Hoquiam’s Loggers Playday log trucks are still in abundance, still blasting their horns, but now – covered in lights!) and I am enjoying myself. But then, I love the Christmas season. I uncategorically adore it even with the typical complaints you hear people give voice to, which I shall not utter here. Extravagant gifts of our time or fortunes? Flickering lights and candles? Evergreen boughs? Cocoa? Hell YES. Then: the strains of over-familiar dirges carols playing at the bank and piped through the supermarket’s tinny speakers – or in this case, honked and hooted through a variety of sixth-grade-and-up musical instruments:
Phoenix – posing – not yet playing – in her first band performance and first band parade. Phoenix who handles the whole thing with aplomb and besides being an asset to the band itself, is a Tender Little Sprig of Love. When she finally spies us in the crowd, almost at the end of the parade route, it is obvious she’s been looking for us. She beams! Waves! Blows kisses! SHE IS ONE HUNDRED PERCENT my favorite creature on the planet. She is beautiful, inside and out.
The parade is over. My phone is dead. The crowds are keeping me warm. We head back up the hill to the rendezvous point. Nels rides on his father’s shoulders – and spies a “Santa” in a float complete with chimney. “Santa! Santa! Santa!” my son waves and calls, not so much desperately as insistent and firmly happy. I’m thinking, He surely can’t believe in Santa at his age but – Nels is the type to believe in magic harder and longer than anyone. I put my mittened hand in that of my husband and I wrap my scarf around my neck and I settle into myself. Family life.