Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Boxing Match

Good Afternoon, My Dear Mallory.

Even though the snow yet lies heavily on the brown grasses of winter, this morning was spent in a delightful hour of walking my winter garden and planning where my new herb garden will receive the best Spring-time sun. Now, with the necessary household obligations completed and a most welcome cup of tea at the ready, there is a moment of quiet to regal you with some thoughts that passed through my mind as I walked through the orchard.

After much soul-searching, I did avail myself of your advice and sent a short note to my family. It’s only been a few days so no reply has been received as yet. Regardless of the outcome, my heart and my door will always remain open to those who would like to walk in to my life. I’ll keep you appraised as to how events in that arena progress.

In the few weeks since we last corresponded there has been a shift in public perception. There seems to be a sense of rebirth all about the country at the moment….have you felt it as well in your town?

One can almost feel the exhalation of pent-up breath held far too long during the falling of our economy.

Yes, yes. I’m sorry, my dear. I do have a tendency to write my jumbled thoughts as though you were once again sitting in the room with me, nodding your head when I make a particularly prescient political point.

Several neighbors, and shopkeepers as well with whom yours truly has spoken, commented that this was the best Christmas ever. Examples were given of both the level of thought and largesse of the gift-giving, the lack of those horrible family squabbles, the effort far-flung family members made to join their loved ones for a splendid holiday repast. There was the financial generosity of our fine citizens for our less fortunate citizens: the crowds were large in the shops and while no one doffs a hat or drops a calling card anymore, the inhabitants of my city were invariably mild-mannered and kind to each other.

Unlike those of the past two and three years, this Christmas was spoken of with smiles on faces and joy in voices. Well, all except for Ferguson, of course. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him smile. So sad about his wife and daughter. Ferguson - you do remember the crotchety old man who lives next door, don’t you? Ferguson said it was as if our nation had been in a bout of fisticuffs with itself. The financial black eyes and bloody noses we gave ourselves will leave deep scars but at the end of the fight, we are still standing. Well, you know how the old boy does go on with his metaphors but we must concede his point. The pain is beginning to recede.

Anticipation for the future and appreciation for the past quivers in our psyche…it’s almost palpable, the sense of promise ~ for want of a better word ~ in the air.

I must close out now as I am duty bound to write a letter to my Aunt Minerva and haven't much time left before the Pettigrews arrive with their dreadful daughter for an extended visit. I wish you and your family a bright and bountiful New Year.

Until my next letter,

I remain,

Your Raleigh Writer

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Thaw

Hello My Dear,

The snow falls softly today and has settled much like a lacy shawl carelessly draped across an old woman's shoulders. Southern snow puts me in mind of long ago cotillions, of flowing white gowns on virginal young women and the white tie and tails of the young bucks who are anxious to change the physical status of said girls. When gazing at snow on pines, I think of stately grand dames sitting ramrod straight in their grey bombazine dresses, occasionally raising a speckled yet still graceful hand to discretely check their perfectly coiffed white hair. There's a certain music to the falling flakes; the constant crinkly sound of the snowflakes hitting a solid surface is occasionally punctuated by an obscenely loud crack of a broken branch...I must laugh as I'm reminded of the time poor Mr. McKeon was unable (unwilling, we always surmised) to contain a certain bodily function during mother's last Holiday Luncheon and the noise its natural release produced. The deafening silence after both the crack of the branch and Mr. McKeon's embarassing release hung on the frosty air for far too long.
Southern snow...so clean, so fresh, so shiny in its simplicity. Snow prettifies petty ugliness and lends a glossy glow to the mundane appearance of such things as run down porch gliders and those horrible rubbish containers that no one bothers to hide anymore. When it melts, all is washed clean and the water from the snow is absorbed into the ground, providing much needed water for growth in Spring.
So, to the point of my letter, my dear. It has come to my attention, via a vicious circuitous route commonly referred to as gossip, that there is, much to my chagrin, a parallel between the winter snow and the darkness within my soul. Being a person of common sense, I am not one to refuse an opportunity for improvement of self. I examined the weather of my soul and found the whisperings of the local gentry have some fair bit of merit.
Oh, it's so hard to admit to shortcomings! However, I agree that I have for some time now been in need of some snow in my soul. I'm ashamed, yet strangely relieved, to admit I've been harboring ill feelings, petty jealousies, and old slights for far too long. In this winter of my soul, I welcome the pure, cleansing effect of snow. So my gift to myself this Christmas season is the release of any lingering effects of our family quarrel. Determination of right or wrong no longer matters to me. The self-inflicted separation from all of you does, a great deal.
I hope you, too, can find it in your heart to let go of the hurts and angers we so callously inflicted upon each other on that long ago snowy day. I've missed you.

Until my next letter,

I remain,

Your Raleigh Writer