The holidays are over, the kids are gone, and we are feeling a little despondent. We so love this time of food, family, generosity—oh, the world needs more of this homely virtue—twinkling lights, and, yes, beauty. Winter is one of the most beautiful times in Maine, and on a clear day, the skies are so blue that I feel exhilarated.
It snowed on Christmas day, a storm that left us about eight inches of light, fluffy snow. Nothing unusual for central Maine. Naturally, this meant we had to clean up the snow, but as the saying goes, many hands make the task light.
Here is Shannon, just barely visible in her blue parka, cleaning our car.
Here is our front deck, after it was shoveled.
Then, as it sometimes happens in Maine in the winter, it got very, very cold.
This little junco is puffed up against the cold. We are diligent about keeping the feeders filled for them and for the other birds.
It is so cold, that the windows in the bedroom are frosted.
But our backyard looks like a winter wonderland, so all is forgiven.
Maine is not the northern-most state in our country, but in the winter, we definitely feel as though we are north of north. Snow, cold, quiet, and a hunkering down for the winter give us the illusion of being separate from the rest of the country. How far removed Washington feels, almost as though it is on another planet.
This, of course, is false thinking. What happens in Washington ripples outward and upward, affecting us all. But during this time of stillness and cold, I can almost pretend that time has slowed down, allowing us to focus on movies, books, and tea with friends.
And speaking of movies…we saw four good ones over the holidays, all worth putting on your list if you are a movie buff. Our favorite was Darkest Hour, about Winston Churchill and England’s decision to enter World War II. A couple of times I was moved to tears, especially as the little civilian fleet left to rescue the soldiers at Dunkirk. Oh, my! Then, there is Churchill’s famous “We shall fight on the beaches” speech.
My second favorite was Downsizing, a parable about climate change, our overconsuming ways, and bright spots of decency. No answers are provided, and the silly sight of a shrinking Matt Damon does not detract from the serious message of this movie.
Third was All the Money in the World, about the kidnapping of Paul Getty III. Christopher Plummer replaced Kevin Spacey in playing Getty the elder, and Plummer did an outstanding job, especially when you consider his scenes were filmed in just nine days. As for all that money? Too much for one person. Too much.
Finally, we saw the latest Star Wars movie, which was good enough, but it just didn’t have sparkle. The plot was too basic and involved too much chasing. Still, it was wonderful to see Carrie Fisher in her last role—how good she was!—as well as some bright spots that were, alas, not allowed to shine long enough.
It’s been a good year for movies, and there are more to look forward to, perfect for this cold time of year.
So now onward, ho to January and February.