Monday, January 3, 2011

December 2010

I grew up with White Septembers and an Occasional June snowstorm and even trips to the snow up on the Beartooth Mountains on the 4th of July
 but where I live now, Christmas is green grass and red maple leaves.

It is no less festive
 and yet, there are times when I miss the need to stay indoors, bundled into the living room, huddled around a board game with my family as school is cancelled and hot chocolate is simmered.

There are very few times that we have had snow at the high 25 foot elevation of my Redwood coast home.

But we have a tradition of visiting loved ones over the school break, and that nearly always includes visiting snow as well.

 The Mountains around Ashland, Oregon are where we found it this year.

and what could be more in keeping with the holiday that the acres of oak trees wearing their mistletoe kissing balls?

We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with our friends who are as close as family, in their warm, sunny home in Ashland, OR

but our own Christmas Tree was there to welcome us home afterward.

Then as New Year neared we headed up the Oregon Coast to Visit Uncle Wince, (a nickname from being the wrestling partner of choice when the boys were tiny)

We stopped in Old Town Bandon, OR to buy fudge and walk on the pier.  We have often dropped our crab pots there, but this time the ice chest was already filled with Dungeness crab

 and the goal of the day was to visit the state park, close to Coos Bay, at the Old Simpson estates known as "Shore Acres" in Charleston, OR
The surf there constantly pounds the cliffs and carves surreal shapes in the sandstone

even the trees are sculpted by the wind and weather

both mansions burned but the gardener's cottage remains, and the three gardens are decorated with thousands of lights each winter.

 The oriental garden is my favorite as it reminds me of my days as an exchange student in China.

 Inside the cottage, Santa was discovered bathing on his cap, amid a pool of bubble wrap.

 Up into Salem to the Uncle's house, we took a walk and saw this Dr. Seuss style tree in a yard near-by!
 and shared our third Tree of the Holiday season.
and watched the sunset from Uncle Wince's window

and found this charming scene across the street from the cemetery

 We had such a lovely Christmas break, that even the rest area we usually stop at, had been made beautiful by the arrival of snow.
In my Novel, Duff Barkley hates being at his Aunt's house for Christmas, and is frightened to stumble out of her attic and into a strange world, but in my beautiful world, being welcomed into the home of uncle's and friends, added a magic to the season and gave me memories of love and laughter to carry on into "the bleak mid-winter."

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