I am in Maine, and my friend Kay, with her German shepherd, Sophie, is with me. There is no snow on the ground...almost unheard of in Maine at Christmas...(who are the candidates that don't believe in global warming? Mitt and Newt?)and today it was sunny and brisk and beautiful. We took the dogs to Holt Pond, a nature preserve about 10 miles from my house. It's a large area, crisscrossed with trails, and there was not another soul in sight or anywhere near. Sophie dashed about, excited by sticks on the ground; Alfie stays on a leash because he has a tendency to seek possums and skunks and porcupines, (probably beavers, too, in this boggy pond) never a smart pasttime for a dog. But both Sophie and Alfie loved our excursion, and both came home and went to sleep.
I have a good friend who, after surviving a grim cancer, did something last year which Martin and I found admirable and enviable. She and her husband left their jobs, rented their house, and set off to try to do some good in the world. Now they are in Mae Sot, Thailand, on the Burma border, working (as volunteers) with refugees.
She has just described a Christmas party at which the 20 children present each received their one Christmas gift: a box of cookies. They were excited, she said, and totally content, each of them comparing their boxes and debating the different flavors.