Thursday, December 22, 2011

Frosting inside and out.

I woke up this morning to the sun glistening off frosted rooftops. It’s such a beautiful beginning to the shortest day of the year. Celebrating the solstice goes back to my celtic roots when people toasted the return of the light with fires and feasting.

Walking through the park with Jilly, I admired natures artistry. Leaves sculpted into shape by the cold and painted with silvery frost. Icy sculptures were everywhere around us, from the tips of the grasses and reeds to the leaves on the pathways. Even the roads were crisscrossed with a plaid embossed by tire treads up, down and across the streets.

The sun burst across the lake. As we walked along the paths, I admired the sparkle everywhere. The ice softened the edges of the gravel and bark dust rendering them as landscape art instead of mulch. But practicality and beauty is Mother Nature’s forte and today was just another of her many wonders.

And some I almost missed. As I was taking another frosty foliage photo on my cell phone, a tall silhouette moved behind the reeds. It was a large, blue heron oblivious to the frosting everywhere, moving slowly and softly in search of a fishy breakfast. I gasped and changed my focus catching this close up photo of one of my favorite birds.
Later cozy and warm in my own home, I enjoyed a different kind of frosting. I heated up the oven and made one of my favorite Christmas cookies, Chocolate Kringles. My Gram used to make these for me and she sent me boxes of homemade cookies when I was away at college. She died years ago, but her recipe lives on. I bake Kringles every Christmas and now, my daughter bakes them too.

And as everyone knows, everything is better with sugar. Especially this time of year, it’s the one time I don’t have to feel guilty about baking. My Grandmother Gallacher taught me to make shortbread from scratch when I was a teenager. I make her Cherry Cake every year, too. But this year, unable to find sweet red cherries, I substituted sweetened cranberries. I hope she doesn’t mind and if it turns out well, I’ll have to change the name to Cranberry Cake.

And change is good. Today, we celebrate the change of the seasons, the change from darkness to more light. With winter’s frost decorating the world and sugar frosting cookies and cakes, we can taste the sweetness of life all around.

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