Jack Frost nipping

I was taking a walk after work to the Grocery store, and now that the clock was set back and the sky was darker, clear, and noticeably colder, I suddenly "felt" like the Holidays were upon us, like how a smell can trigger a memory.

In that instant I thought of snow, presents, and pumpkin pie. I thought of shopping and giving and receiving. And I felt the Bonds of Family.

There was also a tinge of bitter happiness, and a feeling of Fleeting Time, of loneliness, of good intentions met with indifference.

My earliest memory of my Mom holding me as she whispers that she has a surprise for me, and whisking away the curtains to show the lawn covered with snow.

I remember when I was 5, finding my presents stashed away in a closet, but purposely hiding them again, trying not to see what they were.

I recall sneaking outside into the Virginian dusk, flurries dancing in the wind, clutching a small hand wrapped present as I ran through the empty suburban streets towards my crushes house to drop it off in her mailbox.

In that chill, you really begin to appreciate even the promise of warmth. The smell of a fireplace, the glow from a house full of friends and family...

I think of gazing upon fresh snow and not wanting to see it destroyed, but then I make a snowman all the same. I think of that big box full of Holiday Greeting cards a coworker bought for everyone, and feeling more and more depressed as I leafed through the envelopes without seeing my name.

And I remember crying when Emmy gave me one, with a gift, too- the first I ever received from outside the family.

And most of all, I think of the innumerable times I stood outside in the dark, the cold, from Christmas Eve to New Year, closing my eyes, trying to find that smell of burning wood and taking a deep breath, then staring up at the stars while nursing a perpetually broken heart, remembering all the unfulfilled dreams of the previous year while designing new plans for the coming one.

And I remember idly wondering if this sadness is normal, and if it ever goes away. And I'd hug myself tight and stare at the stars some more before sighing and heading back inside, the heat an almost physical force that would engulf me like a giant fist as soon as I opened the door, and I'd give a little sigh- of comfort- as I kicked off my shoes.

Heh, funny how a cool breeze can invoke all of that.

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