December 22. Just a couple more days and Christmas is HERE!
Every year I marvel at how the time span between Christmas’ gets shorter and shorter. Sixty years ago I would have bet there were at least 465 days between Christmas’. Now is seems more like about 165 days. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas but they’re coming and passing too fast.
The last couple of weeks my wife and I have been watching the Holiday mood take hold as we’re on the afternoon cigar break. Seems like every evening we see more lights going up. The big (and I do mean big) show of enthusiasm was really apparent in the yard of a local resident.
I didn’t see his reindeer but I know they could be intimidating! The reason I say that is we have a herd of rogue deer in our neighborhood.
Earlier this winter we were having problems keeping our hanging bird feeders full. We would fill them in morning with a about 2#’s of feed. By the next morning the feeders would be empty. We have a fair number of birds come into the feeders but come on. Chickadees may be voracious feeders but 2#’s a day???
One morning I’m up making coffee before sunup and notice 4 or 5 deer in the backyard around the feeder. There’s a large doe bumping the feeder with her nose causing the seeds to spill on the ground. The rest of the deer are standing there cleaning up. Mystery solved but not the problem.
We love the outdoors, winter and the holiday season seems to bring it all together. Strange as it may sound, anymore a 50# bag of peanuts is one of my favorite Christmas gifts to receive. Now these aren’t enjoyed with a beer but are fed to our squirrels and Blue Jays. Yesterday our Christmas shopping included picking up another 100#’s of sunflower seeds.
They are a couple of feeders in the backyard and we also feed right at the back door. Our old feeder has fed many generations of squirrels and birds. In fact, if you check out the post holding up the feeder you’ll notice its been worn down a bit by who knows how many squirrel claws making the climb. The feeder needs rebuilding but I just can’t bring myself to tearing down such a historical structure!
Now all of this feeding has led to a healthy squirrel population. Healthy in both numbers and size. My friend John was astounded when I sent him a pic of one of our backyard regulars. I’ll admit I’d like to get him on scale to check his weight but this guy is one big Grey. He has rolls on his neck and shoulders.
And if you look at our yard in the winter it’s basically an interstate highway system for our critters. All roads lead to the feeders.
In the summer we have turkeys. We see them more in the fall then winter and they’re always a welcome sight.
So what does this have to do with Christmas you ask. For me it’s all about caring and sharing. And that feeling extends beyond my human counterparts. Giving gifts to friends and family is a wonderful way to show we care. By extending that generosity to my backyard guests, I’m repaid with many hours of entertainment and education in how the world interacts.
I would so much rather receive a gift of bird seed that I can in turn re-gift pays me double. While I can enjoy receiving the gift I can smile again by passing the gift on know it will be appreciated even more.
This fall we lost our next door neighbor. For several years my wife and I helped her out with minor tasks that were difficult for her to do anymore. Walking to her mailbox, moving the garbage cans, my wife plowed her driveway etc. I had taken her to the hospital and spent the day with her when she developed Pneumonia. A small sacrifice on my part that meant a great deal to her.
A couple of nights ago her nephew and niece knocked on our door with a box of homemade cookies and bars. We invited them to stay for a cup of coffee and spent the next two hours visiting and sharing the cookies they brought. It meant a great deal to us knowing they were expressing their thanks for our concern and caring for their aunt. Such a simple gesture and particularly meaningful during the holiday season.
I know one of the gifts I’m receiving for Christmas is a box of steaks. What a great gift that I’m going to get to share. My wife and I can sit down to a meal together and both enjoy the gift. The last thing I need is another shirt I don’t really want, so this is perfect.
I consider myself incredibly lucky in so many ways and am glad I could share these thoughts with everyone. My greatest hope is that all of you have a fabulous Christmas, however you might celebrate it. Spend time just reflecting on all the wonderful things around you. Smile at the things you take for granted. Have a very Merry Christmas!!!!