It's coming on Christmas and I'm missing Massachusetts so much, at times I almost can't breathe. I'm familiar, only, with the exclusive cupped hands of a New England winter. Where roads and sidewalks meld into one wide, white space that cars brave each day and children wake up excited, hoping to spot their own town on the blue bar that travels at the bottom of their TV screen.
It started only a few days ago, while walking Persephone, I turned to my husband and declared with a childlike pride, "It smells like winter!"
That's one of my useless talents, being able to smell the seasons, and winter has a very distinct and familial smell. Clean, fresh and new. Not the kind of store bought newness, that you find in packages and cars, but something pure and untainted, like the way newborn babies smell.
Well, I can smell winter and the coming of snow.
South Korea is known for their harsh winters and snow storms and I can only wait with a childish hope that I get a glimpse of those friendly white flakes before I leave here, it will make my long anxious wait worthwhile.
Most of our belongings are boxed and packed, our fridge looks more bare every day and our home is looking more like a house; empty and unfriendly.
Which is the exact opposite of the winter seasons I am used to. Right now, if I were living back home my mother would be filling every inch and bare space with baubles, lights and Christmassy knick-knacks; bought and home made. There would be a tree in the living room and a tree in the finished basement, the one the kids will gather around come Christmas day. Almost every night she will light a fire in her beloved fireplace and candles bought from Yankee, smelling of spices and pine, will be burning in every tart burner she owns.
Not a day will pass without the cheery voices of Bing Crosby and Andy Williams, wishing a merry christmas and reminding the entire household with a holiday boom, that THIS is the most wonderful time of the year.
When the snow has fallen and the plows have packed it against the fence, my mother will zip and bundle every child and send them out into the yard; her tailing behind them with the camera, their rosy, frosty faces a collection of memories to save for later years.
A custom, beginning with yours truly, will some year soon apply to Hunter, now the oldest child of the house. After the younger ones are tucked in bed and sleeping, he will be offered the chance to go out into the yard with the adults, while they indulge in the childlike antics that this season embodies. Sliding and falling down into the paths made by the sleds.
Maybe, just maybe some year soon, he will also be allowed a mug of the hot mulled rum cider my mother makes and even if he dislikes the taste, he will simply relish the seniority the offer. A boy becoming a man.
Something akin to how I felt, a girl becoming a woman, being included in the late night affairs of the adults.
There is so much this individual time of year brings about in me, a certain brand of memories, a certain childlike hope and even at twenty-two, it is far from diminished.
Now, as I sit in my living room, my walls bare of picture frames, the bookcase dismantled and boxed, my kitchen becoming increasingly bare, I play my Christmas favorites and the little amphora of hope I keep locked in my chest runs over with red, green and white light...speckled with silver and gold.