I received this email from a friend who moved last year from New York City to a small town near the Canadian border. He said it was okay if I shared it, as I take a breather from editing stories about political mayhem, terrorist attacks and all the rest of the soul-destroying madness.
Dear Guy, forgive me for declining your offer to share Christmas with you in New York but with my new ‘caregiver’ duties it won’t be possible. Kathy’s health makes travel too problematic. It will be just K. and I for Christmas in this snowy, cold clime.
Your Christmas Day and post-Christmas plans sound wonderful as usual with so many family members and friends. You can really count your blessings. I’m happy enough here, a retired “country gentleman,” you would say, in this snowbound village.
Country living is peaceful and contemplative and more interesting than you might think. The bungalow’s ten windows (two of them picture windows) look out in the front onto busy County Road 27 where local commerce is conducted and which if travelled far enough leads to Montreal; the side and rear windows have views of an acre of heavily wooded and rocky terrain, predominantly a backyard of primitive rock formations and towering trees.
From the lowest branch of one tree hangs a bird feeder which is frequented by such a variety of birds that K. bought for me (on line of course since now and from now on she is confined to the house, an invalid, I guess is the word, which sometimes if I’m in a sardonic mood I pronounce in-VAL-id, to which K., like the good sport she is, gives me a grim smile), she bought for me, as I was saying, ‘The Stokes Essential Pocket Guide to the Birds of North America’ so I can tell Bella the cat the different kinds as she sits on a spare bed in the back room watching the birds intently, her tail swishing and crouched as though ready to pounce.
The backyard is a wildlife haven: squirrels, rabbits and chipmunks are regular visitors, and occasionally, deer come down from the woods behind the backyard. And just yesterday a red fox sauntered by. Perhaps one day I will see a wolf.
And so it will be in these stark and simple surroundings, that K. and I, at our Darby-and-Joan Christmas Dinner, will drink to your health and happiness.
Love to you all,
Bruno & Kathleen