It is the wee hours of December 28. My children are still asleep, and the husband too. I sit in dark silence writing, the room lit only by my Christmas tree. My gaze moves across the room to the window. The still and dark of winter is pierced with a single row of colorful lights that line the house across the street. I hear a faint song rising from the wind chimes; it starts and stops, starts and stops as the breeze dances through the night. My mind tells me perhaps I should think about taking the tree down soon, packing away the lights and the ornaments while we have time between Christmas and the New Year. But as I stare at the lights I feel peace and find hope in the dark. I feel the magic of giving and the revelation of stillness; all of these elusive blessings at once become tangible, their influence greater than the perpetual state over overwhelm that forces me to go faster, to do more, to keep up. Looking at the lights I am gently reminded to stop, to reflect, to enjoy the quiet, to find time for myself. I study the shape of our tree, notice the sway of the branches, admiring the graceful way she bends just so after years of life in the canyon. She inspires me to hold reverence for the earth and her gifts, to live graciously, to seek peace.

So, when you come for a visit, you will have to forgive the needles strewn about.  The tree will stay up a bit longer, and I will enter the New Year basking in her glow.


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Saralyn Ward is an award-winning writer, wellness advocate, and mountain mama. She is the founder of The Mama Sagas, writes for several publications and hosts a regular parenting TV segment on Colorado's Everyday Show. When she's not huddled over edits, you're likely to find Saralyn climbing peaks or skiing down them, and reminding herself that the two little girls that call her mom are not the boss of her.