The Things to Keep Close to the Heart In Troubled Times

snow paradiseWith all the tragedy in the world just now, it is often all too easy to get caught up in things far away, and yet it is life nearby at the heart of our day-to-day existence, and being able to draw out the goodness in each small moment is at the foundation of happiness.

And so, yesterday it was finally time to get the Yule tree. Natalia and I found a very nice tree while hiking at the very back of the Elfwood about a quarter mile from the cottage, so we went home and Natalia summoned Daphne while I fired up the tractor. I was just planning to use the tractor to carry the tree back when I noticed Natalia pulling a little sled behind her and realized I had 50 feet of rope on me and a very powerful tractor under me. And a wicked idea occurred!

A couple quick bowline knots secured each point of the sled to the tractor’s 3-point hitch and I revved her up to 1500 rpms and took Daphne and Natalia for a wee sleigh ride down the path to the Rusalka Brook. The girls laughed and shouted and chattered all the way, despite the frigid air and the thickly falling snow. Then we returned to the Elfwood, hiked in past the Hollow Brook, and cut down the Yule tree and the girls rode the sled again back home while the bucket carried the large tree.

That evening, as darkness fell, we stood up the tree in the living room and decorated it with tinsel of green and blue, and beyond the window a gentle snow fell, covering the expansive forest in a soft quiet blanket that shone phosphorescent beneath a sky bereft of stars. And all through the house was the fragrance of spiced wine and chicken stew.

The finest things come in the little things that are at hand. We would do well to keep them close to our hearts when the world beyond our borders is rife with troubled times.

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