Thanksgiving Miles
Cold Walking

The Sounds of Christmas

Our little town had its Christmas tree lighting last week.  As I walked along main street, listening to brave carolers striving to sound joyful as the mist turned to freezing rain, and later hail, the sight of the lights instantly filled my mind with scenes from Dickens' A Christmas Carol.   There wasn't anything particularly Victorian about the scene, and it's not as if there were any ghosts or street urchins.  No, last year I'd walked under these very same lights, face frozen but smiling as I listening to Dickens' words on my iPod.  I love it when that happens.  I'll see a curve in a road and instantly know what I was listening to the last time I walked there, or hear a bit of a story and know where I was when I first heard it.   This doesn't happen when I'm driving; it's something particular to walking and the way it makes me engage with the world around me.

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When I hear the first notes of "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear", I'm instantly transported to the tree lined streets I grew up on.  When my friends had been called in for supper, I would go out walking.  My mother worked, so my brother and I made our own dinner, on our own schedule most nights.  I liked to wander as the sun set, watching the lights come on in neighbors' windows and the sun's last rays stretch over frozen fields.  As I walked I sang aloud; there weren't a lot of people around.  There was one year that I loved "Winter Wonderland" and joyfully sang all the verses as an endless loop.  Another year I loved "God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman" with its alto friendly notes, but the one that stands out the most is the year of "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear".  When I hear that song I can feel the acrylic yarn of long outgrown mittens, hear the crunch of ice and snow underfoot and smell distant wood smoke.  I sang that song like a prayer, full of longing and wonder.

"Still through the cloven skies they come/ With peaceful wings unfurled/ And still their heavenly music floats/O'er all the weary world" 

The bare trees once again sway with the wind overhead and the stars shine painfully bright.   

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Today I rarely sing as I walk; there are just too many people around.  Instead this December I'll be listening to Christmas instead. 

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Do you have any Christmas favorites?  Leave a recommendation in the comments.

 

Comments

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Kristina

I love so many Christmas songs, but two of my favorites are "Linus and Lucy" from the Peanuts, and "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" by Bare Naked Ladies and Sarah McLachlan. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvNqktvJX14

Amy Elizabeth

I am a big fan of 2000 Miles by the Pretenders and O Holy Night by anyone.

trish

OH, I'd forgotten about the BNL + Sarah M song. I've got to add that to my playlist. I think I own it...somewhere.

Have you heard the story of how the TV execs didn't want to use jazz in the Peanuts shows? They thought kids would be turned off by it.

trish

I've got to go look up the 2000 Miles song. I have a feeling I'll know it as soon as I hear it, but I'm drawing a blank.

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