It is Christmas Eve, always a magical time for me, and I am standing beneath the trees. To what degree the sense of magic is associated with a spiritual dimension—the beauty of a holy baby being born—and to what degree that sense of magic is a holdover from my childhood when I could hardly wait to see what Santa would bring, I don’t know. But tonight, Christmas Eve, 2011, is a clear and sparkling night here in North Florida, and beauty is, literally, in the air.

I have spent the afternoon with my parents, whose 65th wedding anniversary is today. One can hardly say there was a celebration, as my parents’ mortality is standing tall in the center of our lives. My father is in a memory care unit and my mother is an in an adjoining assisted living facility. However, there were smiles and moments of lightness in the day.

Later, in the evening, I attended a Catholic church service held in a barn, under the stars. My beautiful granddaughter had been invited to sing in the small choir by the director, who needed a few extra voices for the evening. The barn was full to overflowing with church members, so my daughter, son-in-law, step-granddaughter and I sat in a row just outside the barn, directly under a heavenly host of gleaming points of light.

After the service, I drove to the property where I will soon be living. I am here now, walking about in the dark, feeling the excitement of anticipation. In the next few months I hope this will be my home. What will it be like when I can step out my door and be connected to earth and sky, right here? I love the way the stars seem to twinkle tonight, like Christmas lights, through the branches of the trees. I grab my camera, foolishly thinking I can capture this spectacle.

Either my basic photography skills are no match for a starry night, or my camera does not double as a telescope. The camera can’t catch what I see! So, I finally have the sense to put down the camera and just…gaze. After a time, I see a jet moving high in the heavens, carving its path through the constellations. Ahhh, it’s all so lovely, I think. And, then, zip! Before my eyes is a shooting star.

Christmas Eve, always magical. I hope yours was too.

Please also see my writing at, at, and at