It was a choice. They were living in the country. The children were in the school and it seemed that the gas for their old car cost more than food on the table. A house, built with their own hands, sat on the crest of a hill with a view of the fields over grown tall with blackberries. Winter had settled in over the landscape and white frost covered it all.
Being alone had never bothered her. In spite of the silence it never seemed empty. She loved a cup of coffee in front of the fire, a nap at 9:30 in the morning and crackers for lunch. The fact that she knew they would all be home before long made it somehow perfect. Even then she could sense the time approaching when the silence of an empty house would be what lay ahead of her all day everyday.
Snow began to settle on the Earth and the frosted blackberry branches and tumbleweeds held each flake. It was as though Mother Earth were putting a coat on her children, keeping them warm even on the coldest day of the year. The lights the children had strung over the porch were slowly covered with ice and snow but kept twinkling through the day. She drew the silence close to her and listened to it’s music.
When clammer of children and boots and the barking dog woke her from the dream, she felt content with it all. The earth was not holding it’s breath any more and the icy branches rattled in the wind. Christmas Trees were lit and songs filled the air. What did you do today? and the Who did you play with? and Where is your new coat? filled the kitchen. The sauce smelled heavenly and the rice filled the covered pot. A table set with the Christmas dishes and a set of Santa salt and pepper shakers dressed the table.
She smiled. There were times when she wondered what on this God’s green earth she had been thinking when she decided to take this path filled with children and dogs and marriage. This life in the country with sheep in the pasture and snow laying on the ground promised isolation. The modern world grew dark under the weight of mother nature. Night approached as the certainty of glowing candles and sleeping by the warm fireplace with small children close by became reality. It then she realized that this life was not so much a choice as it was a gift. On this day perfection was what lay inside her Christmas packages and she could only offer thanks.