On such a mild and blustery sunlit day when the trees are tossing their heads and the birds are gathering in the bare branches and on the overhead wires, it is hard to think of the possibility
of real winter. I see the lovely bones of the trees and their leaves now gone all brown and sere and I know we have reached a kind of juncture. Autumn is yet here but somewhere in the not too distant
future, winter comes with its deep dark and its white covering that lays a blanket of silence on all the world. I used to dread the dark and cold of winter but that was before I was graced to spend
parts of three hard winters many years ago in solitude at my favorite retreat. There I tugged on long underwear and extra layers and warm solid boots and plunged into the crunchy snow, determined to
enjoy its beauty. To my mind there is nothing quite like the crystalline splendor of snow lit by a winter sun or the loveliness of a star-scattered sky on a winter’s night when one feels he could
reach up and touch the velvety blackness and piercing stars. I struggle still with the darkness of wintertime but look forward to each and every snowfall.
My twin grandsons have found much joy in these two seasons (autumn and winter). Just last week they kicked their way through giant piles of still unraked leaves in their front yard, laughing
just the way young children do and oblivious to everything except the crunch of the leaves and the sweet fragrance of decay. I remembered then that I used to do that, too, and that as a young mother
I would take my three daughters to a neighbor’s yard (they had many more trees than we did!) where we would gather the leaves into great piles and then, one after the other, jump in with glee! In
winter the boys throw themselves into the piles of snow (they are still surprised that it is both wet and cold) to make snow “zombies” and afterwards to fashion lumpy balls of snow that are put
together to make a snow figure. They have figured out how to make the best of each season and teach me again and again a lesson I struggle not to forget: it is best to be present to the moment and to
leave the past and the future to take care of themselves.
I have been told that this winter looks to be a harder one than the last couple of winters. I’ve only seen two woolly bear caterpillars thus far and both were the same mixture of brown at each
end with a black midsection. They at least are not predicting a dire winter! But if the snow does come and come again, I will rejoice to see it. I do love how it blankets every tree and every
structure, wrapping it all in a shroud of silence. I love to be at the Village in the snow, knowing that each house sports a warming fire or stove where one can `2 take respite from the
cheek-chapping wind. How good it will be at this year’s Christmas Celebration if there is at least a bit of snow on the ground! I am looking forward to sugar cookies and hot spiced Friendship Tea in
the Tavern and popcorn stringing in the Schoolhouse, to a beautiful interpretation of a traditional German Christmas in the Settler’s Cabin, and to dancing and the delights of a traditional French
Christmas at the Squire’s House up on the hill. Belznickel will be wandering the Village, giving out candy canes and hopefully few lumps of coal, and in the afternoon there will be caroling on the
Tavern porch. The Cloggers will dance away in the Church, and in the Woodworker’s House, Tim Lunceford will be working his magic as a tinsmith. In short, the Village will come alive with song and
dance and wonderful interpretations! Be sure that you are part of the celebration!
We will decorate the Village on December 2, a week before our Christmas celebration. Dress warmly, bring scissors and enthusiasm and join us as we “deck the halls with boughs of holly.” Okay, no
holly! But lots of fresh cut greenery!
I wish each of you the Best of the Season! May you be blessed with good health and much happiness! Merry Christmas!
Fondly, Jean Loughran President, The Society of Friends of Missouri Town 1855