These early days of November are so welcomed. I walk through the woods with intention and look forward to the vivid sunsets that close out the cooler days. I know the holidays are near and I am happy to finally be able to avoid the hype and commercialism and, instead, experience their intention. There is such peace in removing value from things. I think in terms of my mother’s childhood and stories she told of Christmases – images that could fit comfortably within the binds of a Louisa May Alcott book, images of home and family and I strive for similarity. I also have stored in the clutter that is my memory images of my childhood and the Sears Wishbook and shiny new bicycles under the Douglas fir. Those Christmases were fun and so cherished and appreciated, for each gift was heartfelt and acquired from sacrifice but, unfortunately they became the gateway to the runaway train that is now the commercialized Christmas I have come to deplore… the balance was lost, the intention is gone – Christmas can now be found at Best Buy, not there in warm kitchens filled with scents of cinnamon or under covers waiting for the magic of the morning. I will be careful to not be a part of that machine that is about to flip the “on” switch and take from us the meaning of the upcoming season.