Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Very Best Gifts

The Very Best Gifts

My mother was never crazy about a Barbie doll as a role model for little girls and she must have wielded an impressive amount of influence with Santa Claus because he never brought me one. Well actually, he finally did, but only after I had begun to see her as a bit suspect myself and the movie version of Camelot had caused me to transfer my affections to Vanessa Redgrave instead. (Queen Guinevere and her snowy castles beat Barbie and her Malibu Dream House, hands down.)
It’s funny to think about now, but as children we spent an inordinate amount of time mulling over what “we would get” for Christmas. It was taken really seriously. We’d lie in bed and visualize ourselves scooting along the neighbourhood streets atop a shiny red bicycle - I wanted a basket on mine, for books of course. We’d whisper to one another in school about the special locket we’d asked for, or the new Beatle record, or, hard to imagine now, that perfect pair of black patent boots.

These days the gifts I long for are the ones that don’t necessarily come gaily wrapped. They don’t seem to fit under the tree, and are never featured in the glossy pages of the best catalogs. But make no mistake - if you manage to give or receive one of these gifts, they will continue to fascinate and charm till the end of days.
They do not wear out, they cannot break.
True, they may gently fade with the passing of the decades, but their once rich colours only take on a sweeter hue, a softer shade, as morning mist only enhances the beauty of the summer garden.
The gifts I most long for are memories, and they are freely given to all who keep their hearts alert for wonder, their eyes awake to joy.
They return whenever bidden, brilliant as the day I first received them - to comfort me when I’m sad, to make me laugh, or to spirit me away from boredom.
They take my hand in the middle of the night and lead me off into dreams.
They possess the power to drop me onto a ice green glacier in Alaska, or on a rolling ferry to the Isle of Skye.
They allow me feel an icy wind bite my face as I drive a dog sled of yapping huskies through the snow at the top of the world.
They send a salty breeze blowing past me as I sit with my eyes closed by a wild crashing sea.
I know I am a wealthy woman, for I have so many of them.
Far, far more than I deserve.
But I am so grateful for every single one.

Whilst I know, and he does not, that I have some delightful surprises wrapped up and waiting under the tree for The Songwriter on Christmas morning, I also know full well that none can match the gift he received this past week. Right before lunch, he ventured down the drive to the mailbox. I sat with Edward at the kitchen table, waiting to read all the sweet holiday cards that fill our box each December day. I love the mail at Christmas. I waited. And waited. Finally, I heard the front door open slowly and he walked in wearing an awestruck expression that had nothing to do with anything he could possibly have found in the mailbox. “I just saw a flock of cranes fly over”, he said. “It was like nothing I’ve ever seen before in my life. There must have been a thousand of them, and they were huge! All making the strangest sound. I wanted to run and get you, but I couldn’t seem to move. It was just amazing”.
So amazing a sight, in fact, it was actually written about in the newspaper the next day. Over fifteen hundred Sandhill Cranes, each as tall as an adult, were spotted flying over the city on their way to the Okefenokee Swamp where they spend the winter months. Calls had come in from all over town, but only a few souls were fortunate enough to witness the incredible sight.
I was thrilled that The Songwriter had been one of the lucky, for I knew this memory would stay with him forever.
It was a gift from on high. The very best kind.

Sweet memories.
These are the gifts that I wish for my readers in this Christmas season.
And make no mistake... they are out there for all!

Sandhill Crane


  1. Memories are the gifts that keep
    on giving....How fortuitous that The Songwriter was in the right place at the right time...those Cranes must have been a wondrous sight....xv

  2. Lucky Songwriter to view such an amazing site. Great timing! I agree that memories serve as the best gifts and ones that stay with us forever as things get tossed aside for the next one that comes along. All the best pamela and Edward during this joyous season.

  3. Hello Pamela

    This post touched me so much! My Christmas gift came on 19 April when I had weight loss surgery and when my daughter for the first time in her 10 years put her arms around me and gave me a hug.
    What more could I ask for? I have been truly blessed this year.

    Tracy :)

  4. I can't help but think of the following after hearing about The Songwriter's marvelous and spiritual experience:

    'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,

    'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,

    And when we find ourselves in the place just right,

    'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

    When true simplicity is gain'd,

    To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd,

    To turn, turn will be our delight,

    Till by turning, turning we come round right.

  5. Oh yes! Memories are the very best gifts. I treasure mine more than anything else I've received.

  6. Oh, this sent thrills up my spine. What a sight to see. How wonderful that Songwriter was there to see them and watch in awe at the sight and sound of the sandhill cranes making their way en masse. Such amazing and simple pleasures are indeed the greatest of gifts.

  7. Memories are such wonderous things. When one has lived a long and fruitful life so many precious memories that it is hard to choose which to recall today. Thank you Pamela and Edward for understanding the beauty that they give.

  8. What a wonderful experience for the Songwriter!
    I am thumbs up for memories, - they keep the heart warm and the spirit young, and along with that they bring comfort, adventure, delight, poignancy and any number of emotions that enrich our lives as we grow older (more ancient in some cases...)

  9. The best Christmas we ever had was the one where we gave our parents memories. The four of us decided to give them cash - but how? We wrapped them in memories: a tent sewn by my sister recalling our memorable 3 week camping trip through the western states; a model boxcar with a small candy inside - all "gifts" with first a memory and then some cash. Oh, we had the BEST time watching our folks open these gifts. My parents were the best gift of all to us.

  10. Pamela you are a true gift to all, your thoughts, your imagery!

    Joyeaux Noel!

    I have a new giveaway from My Sparrow, do come and enter!

    Art by Karena

  11. beautiful and precious <3

  12. While living in Austin, Texas it was not uncommon to spot a Monarch butterfly on occasion as they migrated but, one year there were waves and waves of them. I decided to attend a Scottish festival, outside of the city in a forest setting; where the men were dressed in Kilts and played the bagpipes so heavenly and while they played the waves and waves of monarch butterflies flew beside them!!!! Magical!

  13. Moments like that make us feel our connection to all that is. That awestruck feeling stays as sharp and shiny as a perfect star to the end of our days.
    Happy Christmas to all four of you!

  14. A lifetime can hold so many wonderful memories, if we are fortunate and awake to the moment. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and many more memorable moments to come!

  15. nature seems to have a way of bringing us the best presents :-) funnily, just recently I was reading an article on migrating sandhill cranes. How lucky he was to see this :-)

    Back when it was warmer we were sat on the bow of our boat enjoying the last droplets of early evening light when about 50 geese landed and cruised around in front of us on the canal... after 5 or 10 minutes they started to call to each other gradually becoming louder and louder. We watched in utter amazement as they all took off together right in front of us. I will never forget how utterly thrilling that moment was.

  16. I am always so impressed with your writing during my visits here. Wishing you, the lucky songwriter, and Edward the most cherished of memories this holiday season.
    Lisa & Alfie

  17. I am always so impressed with your writing during my visits here. Wishing you, the lucky songwriter, and Edward the most cherished of memories this holiday season.
    Lisa & Alfie

  18. Pamela, the cranes were surely an awesome & wondrous sight, one that you can't help burn in memory. Your lovely images are so appropriate for this week; while I can't remember every gift I have ever received on Christmas day, I can tell you all about the smells and sights of our Christmases past.

  19. You are right in that memories are the most precious gift...I strive so hard to maintain them and pass them on. There are some family memories that can no longer be cherished because they weren't recorded. I don't write well so that is why I have chosen to take so many photos...

    One memory I will have this year is of making your ginger pound cake in my castle pan! It was delicious...and I will make it again this season I am sure! I'll blog about it soon...just looking for the time to do it:) Thanks for the recipe!

  20. magical! the merriest of Christmas to you and Edward and the songwriter xxo

  21. What a wonderful sight that must have been! How lovely. I'm looking forward to Christmas now and hoping not to go far from home either. Have a fantastic holiday xx

  22. What a beautiful post and a wonderful experience for the songwriter! Happy happy are the people who realize the wonder!!

  23. With four women in our house, we are praying for happy memories! Its like herding cats around here and Christmas magic is on the top of my list. Send light!!

  24. My mother always promised me switches and lumps of coal for Christmas; old Saint Nicholas, sweet elf that he is, never listened to her.

  25. Lucky he who gets to see the migratory shuffling of the Sandhill cranes!

    So poetic...so true!

  26. Yes, indeed, sweet memories are the best gifts of all.
    Sending love and warm greetings to you, your family and Edward and Apple.

  27. Pamela,
    I loved this post so very much! An amazing thing to see to be certain.
    Besides our joyful memories, truly the best gifts are the ones we never ask for.

  28. A lovely memory--cranes on their way...like the red moon tonight...and its eclipse.

  29. You are so right, it's not the things we get, but the moment that carries us and gives us those memories to cherish. Time has a way of softening us and making us realize how valuable those moments are. What a nice punctuation with the cranes! Thank-you for some of the best reading I've had in a long time, your posts are something I really look foward to. Have a blessed holiday!

  30. Your posts continue to be a precious gift to me Pamela as for those few minutes I live in your world so clearly.
    I cherish my memories and they are many and beautiful but I also love to visit the memories of others.
    I have long believed that I am made up of little bits of the people I love or spend time with and I like the bit of you that is clinging so thank you. xx J

  31. Absolute perfection of a Christmas wish! same to you!!

  32. That is the best of gifts. There is a saying..."Interesting stories only happen to people who can tell them".

    I think too that poetic sights only happen to those who can write of them well like you.

    I envy your gift with words. I too would find that a marvelous sight but would not be able to describe it as beautifully and eloquently as you, my friend.


I love to read your comments! Each and every one! Though I'm always reading your comments, I may not respond in the comment section. If you want to write me directly, you may do so at pamela@pamelaterry.net. Thank you for reading!