Monday, December 20, 2010
The sun sank languidly into the western horizon and there were bells…bright bells tolling in bright shades of blue and gold heralding the coming the evening…bright bells singing out the anthems and the carols of the Christmas Eve.
Sara smiled, that inscrutable Mona Lisa smile that could soothe like the sweetest balm or cut like the sharpest knife depending on her mood, and listened to the bells while letting memory flood over her.
Memory, shimmering in the muted shades of blue and gold, giving life to each bell in turn and all at once and sending Sara back to tender moments along her journey.
One bell tolls for Daddy, his quick rouge’s smile shining through clouds of fragrant cigar smoke and soft choruses of deep, hearty, often charming laughter. One bell tolls for Mother, the stalwart rock of her childhood; Mother had gone too soon but, sternly and sweetly, kept informing Sara’s life even decades later. Bells toll for Christmas mornings filled with peace and laughter even when the pickings under the tree were slim.
Sara listened carefully, breathing deep the stealthy chill of the gathering evening, as the bells…tolling in warm shades of blue and gold…renew connections thought lost. Connections with brothers and sisters…laughing and crying, hugging and fighting, filling Christmas mornings with a cacophony only children could create and only parents could find unabashedly endearing…connections with friends and lovers come and gone from her life…connections with children she took into her heart and with children she never could have…connections with the magic moments of Christmas, real and re-imagined, that make her feel safe and loved even in her abiding solitude.
The moon rose lazily in the star-flecked sky and there were bells…joyful bells tolling in melodic shades of blue and gold heralding the return of old memory and the birth of new memory during the night and the coming Christmas morning…joyful bells singing out the anthems and the carols of the Christmas day.
Sara smiled, pulling her plush sweater tight around her, and looked up into the night sky…looked up at the calm golden moon, at the boundless blanket of stars…looked up into the smiles of the vigilant ghosts of those she loved and lost…and she nodded, giving silent thanks and humming along with the bells…the bright bells tolling blue and gold…of another sweetly wistful Christmas Eve.