Turn of Seasons, December 2018

Ah, yes.

The woods behind the house, from the back deck.

As I write, it is the tenth of December, and the winter equinox lies more than a week in the future. It snowed fifteen inches yesterday; today’s temperature was about 40 F and much of the snow is gone now. Tonight’s low, however, will be about 15 F, and whatever didn’t melt will be ice by tomorrow. Brr.

This feels, in point of fact, very much like my 1970s childhood, also here in Virginia. We typically had had at least one snow and sometimes two or three before Christmas, and then there would be several more snowfalls through the winter. (Anybody remember the widespread fear that we were entering another ice age? Seems funny now.)

My sister’s husband is stationed in upstate New York, not far from Lake Erie, and they get snow. They’ve already had two snows, and the most recent dumped more than two feet on the ground. No school closings or delays, either; my poor nephew had no respite from 9th grade despite the weather.

The CEO left before the snow started, because he and another instructor from Virginia Tech’s Agricultural Technology program had been invited to do a seminar on Virginia agriculture for some Chinese officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs. That was scheduled to take place in the Northern Virginia area, near DC, and he didn’t want to get stuck in the forecast snow here, so he took off on Saturday afternoon.

The snow started around 3 a.m. Sunday. I woke up once — you know that eerie stillness in the air when it snows? I heard the silence, if such a thing is possible, and it made me restless in my sleep. There was already snow covering the ground when I went to look out the window at 4:10 a.m. It didn’t stop until late in the evening.

It was feathery, powdery, fluffy snow. Taz tried sledding, but the snow just packed down underneath him and  refused to allow sliding across its surface. It was gorgeous, though, like angel feathers.

The CEO, calling to see how we were getting along, suggested that we were in dire straits and we all should have come along with him, to escape the snow. I scoffed. Miss all this beauty? No way, man. No way.

Besides which, we never lost power, and Bookworm was able to get the all-wheel drive vehicle out and to work this morning with no trouble. So there.

With winter in the air, I changed out the contents of the Hatbox of Current Rotation.

I love doing that. I love marking the seasons with my smells. There’s undoubtedly something to the idea of wearing whatever you want, whenever you want, regardless of the weather, and I don’t make fun of those who wear incense in the summer and citrus in the winter. Matching fragrance and weather makes me happy, though.

The Current Rotation includes:
Guerlain Shalimar Light (discontinued)
Coty Emeraude (vintage)
Soivohle Centennial (discontinued)
Amouage Memoir Woman
Guerlain Charnel Elixir Floral Romantique
Chanel No. 5 Eau Premiere
Lubin Epidor
Fendi by Fendi (discontinued)
Maison Francis Kurkdjian Lumiere Noire pour femme
Tom Ford Black Orchid Voile de Fleur (discontinued)
Ralph Lauren Safari
Frederick Malle Editions de Parfums Iris Poudre
Prince Matchabelli Potpourri (discontinued)
Caron Parfum Sacre
Teo Cabanel Alahine (vintage)

It’s disheartening to look over that list and see so many discontinued fragrances. (Even worse: darling Alahine, my Christmas fragrance for the past ten years, has been absolutely gutted by reformulation. Over the years, so has Emeraude, but at least you can find plenty of vintage on eBay. Original Alahine — gloriously full of naturals, rococo in its concept, but European and never in wide distribution — is utterly gone. I mourn.)

Christmas preparations continue apace. No tree yet, but the nutcrackers and the Nativity and the snow village are on display; a tiny lit tree set in my grandmother’s pickle crock and my father-in-law’s childhood wooden sled ornamented with a wreath grace the front porch. The community chorus concert was snowed out this weekend, but it should be presented next week (Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise).

As for health considerations, those continue. I finally got a measure of relief from that persistent plantar fasciitis with a month’s worth of physical therapy; I’ve lost 26 pounds. But there are more (many) more pounds to go, and recently I did something horrible to my knee, so I know the joint issues continue. Also, I cracked another tooth up into the root so it had to be pulled — another dubious gift from Essure.

My mother had one of those Christmas compilation records — you know, one song by The Carpenters and one by Andy Williams and one by Robert Goulet, that sort of thing — and it contained this gem. I’ve heard a lot of versions of this song, but this is my gold standard. I never hear this song without hearing Mahalia in the back of my mind.

Onward. I leave you with this wonderful recording of Mahalia Jackson, Queen of Gospel, singing “Go Tell It on the Mountain” with such joy and conviction.
He came to redeem every sinner
and to wash their sins away — hallelujah!

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