My Illinois Christmas started with being greeted with this sight at the airport:
and this sight at my parents' house:
My Christmas in Illinois was greeting those stalwart old pine trees I have never not known in my twenty-four years on this planet...
... reminding myself of each and every piece of landscape that remains from my childhood... and even the pieces of the landscape that are long gone; the patch of ground where the climbing-tree once was by our driveway, the spot out front that is still slightly sunken from the massive tree it once held... the place where a gigantic storm killed a tree by our 'backyard', resulting in the spot my parents currently use as a garden in spring, summer, and fall...
A spot currently mostly empty, with these gourds nearby waiting for the land to come back to life.
My Illinois Christmas started with flatlands and fields, my childhood house and my yard, my family and I eating dinner at a Chinese buffet, falling back together easily, even the cold quickly felt right, normal, what I would normally be used to in December instead of the humid 40's Greenville was experiencing.
Soon enough, present time, with my niece, the absurdly incredible, intelligent genius child, the Terrific Toddler.
Who I immediately began taking way too many pictures of. Then again, I took a lot of pictures of pretty much everybody.
And all the presents.
And all the snow.
And, inexplicably, my foot.
See? I told you I took a picture of my foot. Maybe I was just really happy with my socks? I don't know what I was thinking here.
Kind of ruins that nice, poignant moment I'd been building there.
In any case, this is how my Illinois Christmas began.
More later, but right now I have a giant pile of laundry-sorting and book-organizing the begin considering thinking about possibly maybe doing before bed, and it's already 11:30 and I wanted to be in bed by 2 AM.
I'm just optimistic that way.
In any case, I have a good two days off work to think about it! So maybe some part of it will get done if I just think hard enough.
Maybe I'll go take pictures of my foot instead...