Holidays bring with them such deep-rooted trappings of memories and traditions, and tinkering with those routines can sometimes bring on vague feelings of angst. Yet here we are, on the road doing what constitutes a major de-construction of most of the traditions we have known. We are 2,500 miles away from family, and although we will connect with them via phone calls, the separation is still palpable.
We started messing with the holiday season years ago when we were “tipping” balsam on our property in Maine.
We stayed late in the season to bring in the harvest, and took a pass on the seven-hour drive to Massachusetts. It was just the two of us in our 18-foot travel trailer, cooking two Cornish game hens in the tiny RV oven because that’s all that would fit. It was fine. It was fun.
Christmas tends to be a bigger deal – mostly because of those aforementioned family ties and traditions. But after years of lingering in New England for Christmas, and then traveling to the southwest in the god-forsaken, nightmare that is half a continent of icy roads and snowstorms, we decided we just couldn’t do it anymore. The risks were too great. Too great even for us, who think it’s a fine idea to canoe Alaska’s Fortymile River in an overloaded canoe. (Another day…another story on our old blog:
So this year we left in early November. Travel was a breeze. It was the right thing to do.
Leaving New England in winter is no longer an option for us – it’s a necessity.
Whether it’s Seasonal Affective Disorder, or an aversion to the damp coldness that numbs the extremities and exacerbates arthritis, we just can’t do that anymore. To those who might say “Go to a gym and work out”, we respectfully decline. We have never been gym officianados. To those who say “Get a winter sport”, we reply: “We have a winter sport, it’s called hiking in the desert”.
Vitamin D + Hiking = Health
That’s the equation that works for us.
So this year we will start some new traditions for the winter celebration season. The Festival of Lights at Rockhound, and our Solstice celebration at City of Rocks were spectacular.
We also made a makeshift tree from pinion pine branches, wired to some yucca stalks, and fashioned a cone wreath from pinion cones we gathered in Santa Rosa.. We displayed the cards our daughter forwarded in the mail… and we have some lights for decoration.
On Christmas day we’ll listen to our cousin Andrew and wife Ashley’s Christmas compilation CD while we unwrap presents and prepare a feast. That’s all pretty standard fare. Then we will hike three miles in the 70 degree dry desert climate. ( Now that’s a switch).
Finally, we’ll call our family, which will be the highlight of our day.
It is a minimalist Christmas, to be sure. But we live in a small space… so the “Cliff Notes” celebration will have to do, and it will. It will be just right.
To all of you… no matter where you are – or how you choose to celebrate – have a wonderful, light-filled, love-filled day!