Among the other precious, more positive moments of the last few days while I was visiting my family:
- Waking up Christmas morning to discover a dusting of snow on the ground and having flurries off and on throughout the day, despite an earlier forecast for rain, giving us a semi-white Christmas.
- Walking out on to the deck yesterday morning to discover an overnight frost had left millions of beautiful, delicate, six-pointed crystals large enough to clearly see their structure; I tried taking a couple of closeups with the digital camera (update: I’m pretty pleased with how they turned out; the image available here has been reduced in size by 50 percent and also saved at low resolution–since the original was 1600×1200 and over 800kb in size–yet still shows pretty good detail; the crystals here are on the wooden deck rail, and for the sake of scale the dark spot in the middle of the picture is a nail head.).
- Leaving my sister’s house Saturday evening after another ugly exchange that ended when our mother, on the sidelines, started crying, to find a crisp, clear sky so full of stars and the Milky Way that it made Mom and me both exclaim with wonder and joy (even though she gets to see those incredible night skies all the time).
- Dinner with the cousin closest to me in age–who also was my best friend through childhood–on Saturday evening, and getting a chance to really catch up on each other’s lives for the first time in a long time.
- Teaching my youngest nephew how to do a riff on the little drum set he got for Christmas every time someone said a funny line (I had so much fun with him and his drums that now I think I want to get a set and learn how to play).
- Holding my cousin’s beautiful baby daughter yesterday in church, and seeing that despite the latter’s mixed-race heritage and the overt racism I’ve sometimes seen back in my home town, my family and their friends all love her unconditionally.
Still, it feels so very good to be home (though I do miss Mom a lot, really enjoyed spending time with her, and regret that my sometimes rocky relationship with my sister affects her so deeply).