Welcome folks from away. So glad you stopped by for an update. This will be our fourth Christmas at RED by the Sea! Already! How is it possible that time has flown by so quickly? Yes we are busy old retirees. At least one of us would insist not old at all. We’ll call it vintage then. But I do think that as we age, the passing time seems to accelerate and there are days that I just want to stop it all and slow down so I don’t find myself wondering what the heck happened to this day, or this week, or this month or even this year. Well yes, admittedly this has been a very unusual year.
We are creating such wonderful memories here in our little home by the sea. Being able to breathe in the salt-rich air and those walks to the beach for splashes and toe dips, sea glass hunting or just sitting to reflect on our good fortune to be living in this wonderful place.
Last year, as in the one before, we’ve enjoyed lots of visitors from afar. No wonder, I say! Who wouldn’t want to explore this place that has so much to offer. We’re never bored with repeat trips to Peggy’s Cove, another horse and buggy ride through old Lunenburg, and try to hold us back from a chance for one more wine tour. We too continue to explore every once in a while venturing farther afield to experience new curiosities. But this year has been like no other. No visitors. No family or friends from away…because of…well, you know why don’t you? That dreaded virus!
We’ve gathered around us a circle of great friends. Some local, born and raised. Some, like Francois are from away but lived here before and craved to return. Or those who arrived years ago like me and raised their children who can now call themselves true Maritimers. The most curious are friends who have never lived here before, but have decided that this will be their retirement destination. They have no real connection here, no family or friends. Some may have visited. Some have only seen pictures. These are the love-at-first-sight folks who were enamoured with the idea of living by the sea. But all of those gatherings, filled with so much laughter and good cheer, have been silenced for now.
In past years, once Remembrance Day was over, I busied myself, dragging our boxes of Christmas ornaments, cranking up the tunes and getting in the holiday spirit. This year it has been more of a struggle to get in the mood. Our precious Atlantic Bubble has burst so we can no longer visit freely with our New Brunswick family this year. Travelling to be with our Quebec family is definitely out of the question as well. Even visits within Nova Scotia are restricted as small pockets of COVID cases sprout up here and there.
In recent times we’ve embraced wearing something fun for the holidays. Who could come up with the ugliest of Ugly Christmas Sweaters or last year’s over-sized homemade bow ties for the guys.
Motivation this year was lacking but I did find something memorable to mark the occasion…as if we needed more reminders. At least there will be a time when we will look back and laugh about the irony of it all.
We’re all decorated now though, with the most perfect tree, cut from a local tree farm, delivered by my son-in-law as a thank-you for F’s help with renovations to their beach house ‘Perch on the Bay’.
The nine foot beauty sits proudly on our front deck. It makes me smile when the lights come on around dusk and will become a sanctuary for winter birds when the snow comes. F leaves them homemade treats of suet, seeds and peanut butter and garlands of orange slices and cranberries. A special gift this year was a most welcome addition to our growing menagerie. Our first cardinal, who drops by the same time each day for a feed of sunflower seeds.
Bits and pieces of my holiday treasures have been placed here and there. We don’t have room for a proper tree inside so I decorated one of my house plants instead.
Now that the decorations are in place, it’s time for some baking. You may wonder why would I bother with almost no one with whom to share Christmas treats? Because, I say, it’s tradition. So we may gain a few pounds consuming them by ourselves…or I can package a few to leave on doorsteps as a gift from the neighbourhood Galley elf.
I feel so lucky to have this peaceful place to sit and sip, write and gaze, plan and think. There’s something about being by the sea that makes me feel more connected than any road or highway could.
What’s missing though is the chaos, the excited anticipation, the clatter, the noise and laughter, those last minute trips to the store just in case and yes, the stress. All that makes Christmas, Christmas. I have decided to embrace my new normal and enjoy it for what it is. We are all safe. We are all healthy. We are all happy.
So in closing….to all our family and friends, our Sailing R.E.D. readers both near and far, may your holidays be full of wonder and magic. Treasure the moments knowing we are thinking of you all and hoping you are well and safe.
And of course, the Merriest of Christmases to you all, from Francois my forever Captain, and from me, the Galley Kat.