Giving Thanks

For every year that I can remember, it has drizzled on Christmas Eve. This year was no exception, and when it came I danced barefoot in the yard while the dogs snuffled bewilderdly at me.

Unfortunately, this also means that the blow-dried air finally has some moisture to soak up and keep us all nice and toasty warm. After months of burning, chapping and peeling, even the slightest humidity was unbearable. Our Christmas was pleasantly lethargic, for we all decided that napping was the best acitvity for the day. I, unfortunately, had a terrible sore throat that kept me out of action for most of the day. (We found out later that I had strep throat)

Christmas dinner was at four o’ clock. The food was wonderful, and we all smiled and laughed at each other over our heaped plates. Afterwards, most of the women went out to visit the dance that was going on, but I chose to remain behind.

Em Tricarico and I went back over to my house, where we made a pot of tea and went up to the observation deck on the top of my house. There we sat, the cool breeze dancing through our hair, as we listened to the birds chirping and watched the sun plunge beneath the horizon, splashing color all over the clouds.

There are some evenings where the sunset is a brilliant collage of color, all reds, golds and purples. Other evenings, the sun blazes gold as it sets, brilliant and beautiful. My favorite, however, is when the sun sets as a single ruby, dropping into the waters of the African horizon.

It was fitting, I think, that on Christmas night, when miles away other families are watching the snow pile up, worrying about the icy roads, that I was sitting on our roof, watching the gorgeous African sunset over the savannah. This evening, the skyline featured a glowing golden bauble dropping from the sky’s tree to land and shatter on the floor, sending up bits of colored wrapping paper all over the clouds. As it hit the horizon, it sent up a great wave of gold, beams of light streaming out over the sky. The clouds were splattered with bits of smeary color, dimming slowly.

We talked for a time, then sat silently, contemplating the gorgeous theatre playing out before us. “This is nice,” one of us said.

“Yeah…this is nice.” the other returned.

We went on like this for a while, sipping our tea. We’d brewed it African chai style with plenty of tea masala – a spice mix made specifically for tea. It is impossible to translate the joy of tea masala to those who’ve never tasted it’s spicy, rich, biting flavor. All in all, any experience in which one has their feet up and a mug of chai in hand is a thoroughly pleasant one.

“And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31)


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