Christmas vacation

img_1108Isn’t this view of the Chester River pretty? On Christmas Day, in Chestertown, Maryland, a small party of Hostetlers and I took a leisurely stroll down to the water to get some fresh air and move around after far too much sitting around and snacking. The familiar holiday sloth had definitely settled in, and taking a walk was so refreshing. The bracingly chilly wind off the water, the crisp blueness of the sky, the sense of light and space after so much time cooped up in the car on the way, and in the house after we got there, the quiet of the town and the river after so much noise and chatter indoors…it was exactly what I needed.

My favorite Christmas carols all seem to invoke space and silence and tranquility. The midnight clear. The silent night. The holy night, in which the stars are brightly shining. Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow. I like the lullabies more than the jubilant songs of joy to the world. What I think I look for most of all in Christmas is peace–which is admittedly hard to find–and if not peace, at least a pause in the whirling rush of the season, and the sometimes too-quick turning of the year. I look for a little space, a little quiet, a little time to catch my breath and say, “Ah yes, this life I’m living, it’s good. These years that are passing, the people who keep me company, the role I’m playing in my small corner of the world, the little things I occupy my time with, the small ways I influence the other beings who’ve been placed in my tiny sphere…it is all, in general, good.” I have to wonder sometimes. Some days, the harder days, I just don’t know. At Christmas, I like to find some quiet and some space to say to myself, “No really, it’s all good.”

I’m going to try to find more moments like this in the new year, because I think I need more of them. I don’t know if I have it in me to make a resolution to, say, start meditating regularly. I am the type of person who will break my resolutions within a week and beat up on myself about it and mentally throw my hands up in the air and say, “What hope is there for a person with such a pitiful lack of self-discipline?” This is hardly constructive, so I don’t bother anymore.

And yet…I’d like to live in such a way that 2017 has plenty of moments that feel like that walk. I’d like more patches of quiet and calm and light and space and reflection and breathing deeply and not trying to get anywhere in particular…just enjoying the walk itself.

That’s my resolution for 2017: enjoy the walk itself. Hopefully my embroidery ambitions will fit in with that goal. Right now I’m a little anxious about finishing my piece and getting the site ready for launch on January 1. But I’d like to let you know that for the first week that Satin & Stem is open for business, the 1st through the 7th, 10% of all proceeds from sales in my shop (crossing my fingers that there are no technical snafus) will be donated to the International Rescue Committee, to support relief efforts for evacuees from Aleppo. I’d like to start this new year on a kind and generous note, and I hope you will too.

Happy New Year! xoxo,



One thought on “Christmas vacation

  1. Beautiful meditation! Dad and I are so proud of the person you are and will keep on growing into. Reminds me of some lines in a poem I memorized in the ’60s: “We are not who we will become/But cannot stop becoming who we are” Keep walking…and thinking.


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