My days of lighting the purple and pink candles in the Advent wreath are long past, and I haven't had a decent chocolate-filled calendar in years, but Chez Bolt is quietly preparing for Christmas. Oh, you'd barely notice it from the outside. Some lights are up, but we haven't gotten around to finding the extension cords yet, so they're strictly a daytime decoration so far, and the tree has yet to make an appearance, and the stuffed albino squirrel still awaits his Santa cap.
I have been killing the time between the ordinary calendar and the appearance of the aforementioned harbingers of the season by baking cookies and playing music, reaching back into the past with the muscle memory of rolling pins and puffs of flour and ancient harmonies on the vocal cords as the past reaches forward with bubbling memories of scents and reverberation, and we meet somewhere in a middle where my grandfather still hangs boughs in every room and my grandmother scurries about a warm kitchen.
The house is shuttered now, of course, my grandfather long the property of the stars and the saints and my grandmother fading in the haze of a nursing home, and a thousand miles away I cut her shapes into dough and play his chords and, for the briefest time, collapse the years and the distance and feel Christmas again.
Merrily, on high.