Christmas with the Østvolds!

for those of you who don't know my husband, he is very proud of his norwegian heritage. i guess even that is a bit of an understatement for a lutheran farm boy from minnesota who is named after his great-grandfather gisle ferguson. so, this year, we are going to put the Øst back in vold and have ourselves a good 'ol fashioned Norwegian christmas eve.

thanks to our friends anne, leighton and lilly we will be spending the evening in good company with lots of norwegian food and drink. the house has been thoroughly cleaned, the tree has been trimmed, and the cookies have been made. i will be making my first pork roast for the occasion....wish me luck. seven kinds of cookies are eaten, and seven songs are sung as you circle and dance around the christmas tree. i am looking forward to inserting a little german too, as i hide the christmas pickle on the tree after everyone has gone to sleep...

to dream of a new season, and a new reason to give thanks.



a spell

every mama knows that the infants we nurture, and feed, and carry, and caress, and hold, and feed again at our breast, will ultimately form those same bonds with their papas. it is a more gradual kind of loving that comes not from necessity, but arises out of respect. the intimacy between mothers and babes begins to soften, to lose its tight hold that binds mother to child. survival gives way to sophistication. it comes from within both father and child, as they learn to know each other in the same and different ways a mother knows. it can happen so subtley, perhaps over legos. immersed in their own separate building projects when he says so sweetly, "dada, you're my best friend."

"you're my best friend too" i hear him reply. and he whispers it again, under his breath this time, as if trying to believe that this is for real.


a student of death

Is life the incurable disease?

The infant is born howling
and we laugh,
the dead man smiles
and we cry,
resisting the passage,
always resisting the passage,
that turns life
into eternity.

Blake sang alleluluias
on his deathbed.
My own grandmother,
hardly a poet at all,
as we'd never seen her smile
Perhaps the dress of flesh
is no more than a familiar garment
that grows looser as one diets
on death
and perhaps we discard it
or give it to the poor in spirit,
who have not learned yet
what blessing it is
to go naked.

Erica Jong