The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment, where is it to be found?
In the most recent Winter issue of The Magnolia Journal, I came across this lovely quote and visual, and I have to say I think this is so true. I definitely get frustrated with the cold sometimes, but I do think snow is so pretty. I think this is true for any snowfall, but especially for the first of the season. There is something about the purity of the white fluffy stuff on the ground that brings peace and joy to my heart. It’s also fun to wake up in a world that looks different from what we’re used to. It’s a beautiful surprise and brings a sense of renewal with it.
The holiday season is such a happy and comforting time, but it always feels too short. I don’t love the cold, but I do love snow, and a white Christmas is better than a snow-less Christmas. Here’s to hoping we have a white Christmas in the Midwest this year!
Every motion in the world taken separately was calculated and purposeful, but, taken together, they were spontaneously intoxicated with the general stream of life which united them all.
I’ve had a special place in my heart for Russian literature ever since I took a Russian literature class my freshman year of college, which I kind of fell into by accident and it turned out to be one of the best things that’s happened to me. I needed to fulfill a writing credit, as well as a philosophy credit, and there happened to be two classes taught in tandem, an introduction to philosophy and Russian literature (which fulfilled the writing credit), so I took advantage of killing two birds with one stone. They were both taught by incredibly smart, kind, and genuine women who I admire dearly. I also happen to have known them since I was a child because they were friends with my parents, which made having them as professors extra special. It was because of this class and how inspired I was by the philosophy professor that I went on to major in philosophy and took most of my classes with her. She really became like a mentor to me.
In the Russian literature portion of the class we read Fathers & Sons by Ivan Turgenev, short stories by Nikolai Gogol, A Hero of Our Time by Mikhail Lermontov, Notes from the Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and of course Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. We didn’t read Doctor Zhivago, but it’s something I’ve been reading on my own after watching the 2002 TV Mini-series and loving it. It’s definitely become one of my favorite things to watch around Christmas time; not that it’s particular festive, but there’s something about the wintry atmosphere that it makes it feel appropriate to watch around the holidays. I don’t read nearly enough anymore, but thinking back on these classes inspires me to cuddle up on a cold day and get lost in a book for the afternoon.
I love this quote because for me it summarizes how I feel about the string of events that make up our lives. I don’t think of these events as isolated from one another, but rather very connected in a way that we might not be able to grasp. I often wonder why related things seem to pop up around the same time and I find it hard to believe that it’s just a coincidence. So I have to believe that the way things line up in life is tremendously important and somewhat out of our hands.
Thanksgiving has long been my favorite holiday and watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV is absolutely a staple of Thanksgiving at my house. This year, since I live in Chicago, I went to the McDonald’s Thanksgiving Day Parade downtown on State Street. I was sad to miss watching the Macy’s parade on TV, but I was also excited about seeing a parade in person. The parade in Chicago is obviously on a much smaller scale than the one in New York, but it still felt very festive.
It was also very different. Rather than big floats and balloons, the Chicago parade focuses on diversity and inclusion by representing various ethnic groups complete with authentic costumes and music from their cultures. I didn’t see the whole parade, but the countries I saw represented were Bolivia, China, Thailand, Mexico, and the Punjab region of India (and I’m sure there were others). I really admired the Bolivian costumes because they wore these interesting wooden clog-type sandals with some kind of bells that made a nice sound.
There were of course many high school marching bands, tap dancers, and cheer squads. There weren’t too many musical performers though, as there are in the Macy’s parade. The one disappointment was how anti-climactic Santa’s arrival was. There wasn’t any music accompanying his sleigh and there just wasn’t a lot of excitement among the crowd when he finally did arrive. I think one thing that makes the Macy’s parade so fun to watch are the commentators from The Today Show with their witty and dynamic narratives. So maybe Santa’s arrival was disappointing because there was no big announcement or tale about his gift-giving to all the boys and girls around the world.