Dr. Katherine Phelps
Copyright 2003 December 25
I arise from my slumber and the sun is already out. My partner is deep in
sleep beside me, and the cats are eager to know that I am awake. Preparing
the cat food I look out the kitchen window and see what a glorious day it is.
I remember Christmases wet with rain, and Christmases crisply cold with snow.
These last years Christmas has become a celebration of sunlight, as I now
live in a hemisphere where the holiday is situated within summertime.
I dress myself in a lacy white cotton top and a pair of tan chinos. Knowing it
will be an hour or so before my partner wakes as well, I decide to take a
walk in a nearby park. On the way I can hear someone playing "Joy to the
World" in a staccato rhythm on their piano. No more than a block away and my
feet begin to tread the paths made red with drying eucalyptus leaves. I take
a deep breath and smell sap and leaves, pine and wattle, grass and jasmine.
I walk, clearing my mind of the clutter from previous days. A thought, a
memory of some annoyance bubbles to my attention, then slips away as my
attention is drawn to the bright red, blue, green, and yellow of a lorikeet
flashing from tree to tree. The bird gossips to its friends about the sole
human wandering beneath their homes. In the distance I can see a few children
wandering onto the sports clearing and set up a game of cricket. I am not
going that way. Rather my feet wend their way to a partially hidden marsh. A
wooden bench grey with age sits beneath the shade of a lemon eucalypt.
I sit down on the bench and wait in anticipation. I must be quiet. I must be
still. My gentle presence is soon rewarded with the "tok, tok" of little
frogs singing to one another. I carefully join the song, clicking my tongue.
No hymn could make me feel any more special than this. Pairs of white
butterflies dance around each other. At one point two pairs join together and
seem to form a pattern that could be the manifestation of an angel. I watch
as the pattern becomes more intricate, more beautiful, until the little
creatures can no longer hold this new beingness and fly apart.
One kookaburra whizzes by, then another. They may even be the couple that made
raucous love in my backyard earlier this year. If only all lovemaking could
be filled with such bright laughter. They seem to be feeding some chicks.
They are carnivores, and I hope they are carrying fat, delicious, wiggly
worms, and none of my frogs. I have only seen my frogs once or twice, and
they are of a royal breed: green with flecks of gold as shiny as on any
crown. I suppose feeding baby kookaburras would be an honourable death.
Eventually, I get up and head back home. I wake my partner with a kiss and we
open our presents. We laugh hard as we watch the cats run around the living
room with wrapping paper on their heads. I sense a presence of peace within
my heart, and all the cells of my body seem to be made of sunshine. I don't
care that today is Christmas. It could be any day of the year and it would
still feel as sweet. I savour the moment, holding it close. I will remember,
and I will create more such moments for myself and others. Love comes from so
many places, including the little frogs in the marsh.
BA (Hons), MFA, PhD
Nothing can withstand the powers of love, laughter and imagination