“Not what we have, but what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance.” – Epicurus
At this time of year my feeling of abundance comes in the form of a stack of books (both new and second-hand) on a shelf in the bedroom, the holiday scent of chai tea and cocoa, with my blue and white china plate on the kitchen counter holding mandarin oranges from the local market – if there is a bottle of red wine waiting on the counter and some bars of chocolate, I’m more than ready to embrace the coming season of winter.
There are many rituals of the season that enhance the sense of abundance for many people, the writing and sending of holiday cards (a dying art!), spending time with family and friends, attending the concerts of the season and counting the small miracles that may come our way as we go out in the world spreading good cheer! I recently attended a production of the “Bach Choir” with my Mom at the beautiful Orpheum concert venue downtown, listening to and singing along to the haunting carols was otherworldly.
In Mexico one does not find the typical Canadian touches during the winter season, I have been known to share a “Magnum” ice cream bar in shorts and sandals on Christmas Day, when living or travelling to a sub-tropical country, one must adapt!
Mexico: Christmas Notes
Guanajuato – December 26th, 1999
An image from December 24th I do not want to forget-the excitement and energy of this city located in the heartland of Mexico. Lineups for wrapping paper, ribbon, tortillas, dry cleaning and special presents. The lights of the season, so colourful and bright especially the lit up Basilica with the small group of street dogs sleeping there each night!
Puerto Vallarta, Calle Honduras – December 23rd, 2004
A touching moment: a Mexican family of 6 walking the streets begging for coins. We saw them yesterday near the church, the father playing a trumpet while one son plays the drums as the rest of the family asks for the coins. Today they are on our street playing very good Mexican music. Since we’ve been in Vallarta we have not seen them before and believe that these coins may be needed for the holiday season. We decided to contribute, they were playing underneath our balcony so Terry ran downstairs and donated a 20 peso bill not coins. The little boy he gave it to could not believe his eyes, he kept looking at it and turning it over. He then ran across the street to put the bill into his father’s safe-keeping. We got many smiles and waves which warmed my heart.
Puerto Vallarta, Calle Honduras – December 30th, 2004
This small family came around again! They looked for us on our balcony and played another song, it was so haunting on the air. Terry wanted to make another contribution so I went downstairs this time with 10 pesos, with their music echoing through the breezeway sounding very exotic and so very Mexico. Once again our donation was met with big grins and nodding thank-yous, we never saw them again…
As I’m writing this post, there is another Pacific storm making itself known; there is snow falling on Grouse Mountain, it is rainy and windy down here making more of the trees in the West End bare of leaves. Even though it is rare for snow to fall, since the beginning of December, the words from a popular song keep echoing through my mind, they are: “Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow” because when it does, the park becomes a magical place – I love crunching on the trails, in stillness, enjoying nature’s paintbrush on the trees and bushes. If it does not snow, I will continue to revel in the abundance that may come my way and wish the same for you!