Before daybreak, I woke to a soft, bright light. It was unmistakable: moonlight. As I turned to the window, there it was: the beautiful full moon - the Christmas moon.
It was cold last night, very cold in lots of places that don't usually have such cold. When I went out to the wilds of my land and beyond, the air was stinging with cold, sharp and clean. The sky filled with sun's light; the moon set below the horizon.
And it was hushed.
No chirping birds or chattering squirrels. While I walked, I noticed the cold settled at downslopes and small valley pockets. Where the sun had not yet reached ground, a soft white frosting dusted blades of grass and leaves. Dirt, transformed into mud with our recent rains, had a slight crunch to it in the shadows where the sun hadn't yet warmed the earth. No cars, engines, alarms - nothing of a usual Saturday morning. This morning after Christmas, the first day of Kwanzaa, was lovely and harsh with cold.
The crows swooped and gathered in the bone branches of the trees, patiently waiting for me to scatter their peanuts. Squirrels were sleeping in. The bucks and does must have still been in their nests. Only the feral sweetheart, Charlie, roused himself when he heard me. When I picked him up to hold him, he nuzzled in the warmth of my jacket. His purring was soft and hushed. (And he smelled of last night's tuna dinner.)
The time after Christmas this year feels odd and foreign to me. I feel disconnected from the familiar. Tired from recent illness. The morning's hush feels like a pause, waiting for a response, but I have nothing to say.
Except that the Christmas moon was amazing. The first frost of the year is now behind us. My new heater is whirring in a hushed roar, churning out much appreciated warmth in this old house. The road I live on is quiet, and no ships have come through on the water yet today. Even the bridge seems to be missing the traffic congestion it's famous for, and that's very unusual.
Wherever you are today in the hushed world, I wish you peace. And warmth. And a perfect view tonight of the nearly full moon - our Christmas moon.