One year, many years ago, I spent the week between Christmas and New Year’s in a little cabin up in Marble, CO. It sat at the back of the property of a friend, deep in the snow. There was no heater, but a tiny woodburning stove called Francis (after St. Francis, me thinks) and a pile of kindling and logs, a few good books left by previous visitors (Hinds’ Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard), candles, chili in cans, and long lengths of roads on which to cross country ski. SO COLD at 7900 feet altitude, on the north side of a steep hill, but Francis felt so warm after a couple hours of skiing. The chili warmed my innards…and the deep silence and naps in between chapters in the books calmed my usual hyperactive self… and gratefully there was an electric blanket on the bed that kept me from totally freezing when Francis was reduced to mere coals in the middle of the night.
It was a great Christmas gift from a good friend, whose name I cannot recall (Michelle, I think) who was a customer of the bank…she was older than I, from France, and she loved the Americans who liberated her town in WWII. One of life’s treasures found when looking another way.