Winter Solstice offers a time to look back on the past year to acknowledge my challenges and the things I chose to do to solve those problems. This recent past year was a very hard one for me with th…

Winter Solstice offers a time to look back on the past year to acknowledge my challenges and the things I chose to do to solve those problems. This recent past year was a very hard one for me with the death of my oldest son, Cary, a victim of cancer at the young age of 53 years and one month. This loss turned out to be harder on me than I imagined. Thankfully, Craig and Laura and their families walked these dark days with me. 

After wallowing in that pain I turn my attention to the coming year. I settled peacefully into my now permanent home at Laura and Larry on what I call "L&L Paradise Acres". I rented my home to Larry's son and his wife, making me grateful that the house will remain in the family, hopefully until my death. 

L & L will go south for the coldest part of the winter and I will stay in my home and bedroom in Spokane. Books and the internet will fill part of that time, and as spring approaches I will start some early seeds to be transplanted to my garden in Spokane and my garden on L&L Paradise Acres. I planted far too many tomato plants in the greenhouse at L&L's last summer. They grew to fill the space from growing boxes to the top. The greenhouse was chuck full of tomatoes of all kinds and cabbages, onions, carrots, and the hardy kale. 

My family and their friends of the Pend Oreille Co Dist 8 Fire volunteers, and their neighbors provide all the external stimulation I want. Settling in also offers me a lovely view into the forest. The deer don't come to this elevation during the winter months. There are not deer tracks anywhere around the place. Most birds have flown south, leaving behind the raucous crows and busy sparrow. Snow covers the ground and dresses Spruce, Pines, and Cedars with lovely garments of snow. 

Our Yule party and Yule Log will burn on New Year's Eve, with invited friend and family. This party always remains in the memories, even of the very young. 

I think of you, dear friends, scattered all around the Earth. My wish for you is good health, a tranquil mind, and peace. 

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Comment by Joan Denoo on December 25, 2016 at 4:51pm

It is Dec. 25, 2016, and the family gathers for a feast of celebration of life and of each other. May your day be overflowing with people and things that you love. Thank you for your very warm comments, they cheer me in ways I cannot put into words. How can people I met on the internet be so precious to me? Again, I can't explain it, but the thoughts of each one of you fill me with joy and pride to have such friends. 

Comment by Randall Smith on December 25, 2016 at 9:39am

Joan, you are an inspiration to all of us. It's good to reflect and express your feelings. Then, while one cannot erase the past, we turn the pages and start anew. Best wishes for a year of joy and happiness.

Comment by Grinning Cat on December 25, 2016 at 8:49am

Joan, thanks for touching a lot of us who you've never met face-to-face... it's certainly one part of how you're leaving the world a bit better! As Daniel said, thank you for being there.

... good health, a tranquil mind, and peace. 

Hear, hear! (Here, here! And there!)

Comment by Glen Rosenberg on December 25, 2016 at 6:25am

I am sorry for your loss Joan.

Evocative scribbles.

Comment by tom sarbeck on December 25, 2016 at 3:13am
Joan, to Daniel's word 'beautiful' describing your essay, I will add the word 'powerful'.
He described its beauty well. I say it's powerful because I have never read and reflected on an A/N post as I have on this one. Especially your opening sentence. I want to paraphrase it for an essay in which I look at a challenge my dad and I handled in very different ways: he by having children and I by having none.
My holiday wish for you doesn't quite echo your wish for others. Good health and peace, yes. What on earth would you do with a tranquil mind?
Comment by Daniel W on December 24, 2016 at 9:35pm

Joan, what a beautiful essay.  There is sadness, resignation, and optimism.  Life is so full of all of those.  You accept what you have to, and proactively take measures to make tomorrow a better place.

I try to live in a similar manner.  You set an example for me to aspire to.  I look forward to everything you say here.  If you want to communicate on facebook, I'm there too.

Thank you for being there and sharing your life.

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