As so many of you sent me emails and messages, I decided to respond with one huge ‘Thank you!’ to you all – I did indeed have a very happy day, in part because of all the love and goodwill channelled in my direction which warmed and deeply touched me.
Late morning found my husband driving us down to one of our local garden centres… sadly, not the one I used to habitually frequent; that has become far too commercialised – big, garish and a prime example of the rampant consumerism that I dislike with a passion. This other garden centre is further away but much smaller, more intimate and very Welsh.
Oh, joy! The place was filled with winter flowering cyclamen and pansies and many other colourful shrubs and flowers. It was an utter joy to see and scent and experience this glorious show of natural beauty when all around us our gardens, fields and woods are turning to drab and seeming lifelessness. My spirits instantly raised and my heart swelled.
At this time on a Sunday morning, the Christmas displays were very quiet. Happily, I strolled around enjoying all the sights and sounds. There were marvellous collections of fairy lights, large jolly gatherings of Father Christmases, gnomes and elves, herds of deer, polar bears and penguins, small woodlands of synthetic trees and crate after crate of beautiful baubles – many with a natural theme and others to delight a small child with their picturesque traditional fantasy. In one corner, a life-sized Father Christmas drove his sleigh past a large Welsh castle inhabited by animated elves who waved cheerily from every window, zealously guarded by an enormous inflatable green dragon. I was suitably amused, inspired and enchanted.
My sore knee (which has been giving me increasing problems for a couple of years now) was beginning to heartily complain, so briefly, I sat down on a garden bench which was for sale. I did notice people staring at me. I thought that it was because I had sat on something which was for sale, but when I came to stand up again, I realised that the bench had been pulled across the entrance to Father Christmas’ grotto which is not yet open… and there was me wearing my little red cape and white fur hat trimmed with a sprig of Christmas decoration tucked in the side! Mother Christmas in waiting, perhaps?
Now there is a job I would LOVE to do… play Santa Claus for the children… I have the right figure but not the right gender! Perhaps in my next incarnation I may get the chance…
Home again, later that afternoon, my husband, son and myself settled down by the blazing log stove in the drawing room with a tray of hot tea and my birthday cake… coffee and walnut, one of my favourites! Candles were blown out… cards and gifts were opened… outside the daylight waned and drifted into a wet and windy dusk… we talked and read and I gloried in contentment at just being safely at home all together – this was my best gift of all.
Years spin around with quite amazing – not to mention sometime alarming – speed. My life seems to get busier and increasingly exciting. But it is the little things, the simple times, the unguarded, unplanned moments which sometimes catch me unaware and suddenly, I see a reflection of my life… myself… in this unique yet ordinary moment and it is breath-taking in its perfection.
Even the longest life does not contain that many ‘moments’. Be aware of yours… they lurk in the shadows and most unexpected corners, ready to blaze out and stun us with their transitory glory and then vanish again. Be ready to recognise them, to be aware of what is taking place. I know I treasure mine.
So, once again, thank my dear friends and readers, for your support, good wishes and kindness. Collectively they provides just such a very special moment. Love, light and blessings to you all.