The Din of December

There is something magical about the word December.

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And I think it’s more than the tingles I get from simply saying the word—a word that envelops me with a warmth containing decades of memories, all twinkling and glittered. I think it’s the hearing of all things December related.

December has a sound all its own.

For me, and where I live on this world, it’s the sound of swirling snowflakes, cotton soft and cushioning. It’s a muffling of the natural world, a bright white quilt under a blue-white moon.

It’s the sound of wind chimes chinkling, nudged by invisible fingers of a frost-laden wind.

It’s the whistle of winter’s breath as it races down the chimney shafts and rushes through the empty halls, a purring, fluid melody, so measured and hypnotic. Suddenly, it inhales and pulls all open doorways shut with slaps of sound that startle, breaking soothing silence.

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I hear the somber trees, brooding and contemplative. Rhythmic and slow, their drinking of the earth and drawing in the air allow them time for mindful reflection, and their meticulous planning of a spring that slowly creeps closer day by day.

And when that cycle is no more, I listen for the pop of seasoned wood, ensconced in flames and smoke. The tiny hiss from flickering tongues is the language of heat, a faint articulation of a promise against the bleak and bitter chill.

I warm at the thrum of mellifluous song, the trilling of carols, the honeyed blend of bright, buoyant voices. Whether it be the refrains of jubilant noise thrust toward the heavens of a brilliant starry night, or one single, hallowed melody, hummed quietly and kept in check, music seeps out into the air, whimsical, innocent and heady.

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This month is filled with the sounds of gratitude: the contented sighs slipping from souls who witness December’s darkness replaced with tiny, twinkling lights, the bright-eyed, gleeful shrieks from innocent mouths who point at storied characters come to implausible and colorful life, and the cheerful hail of reception that fills front halls, front porches and the faces of those behind front desks.

It is abundant with the thanks for a warm cup of tea, a filling cup of soup, a coat, some shoes, a toy, a bed.

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It is filled with a million wishes on the same bright stars, overflowing with countless dreams whispered deep beneath the covers, scratched in a letter to Santa, chanted in prayer over candlelight.

I hear the sound of sharp blades on ice, waxed sleds on snow, snowballs on parkas.

There is the noise of muffled feet on carpeted risers, the hum of a pitch pipe, a sharp intake of breath, and the strains of melody and harmony and dissonance braided throughout the next many minutes that make the hair across your arms quiver above goose flesh even though you are in an overheated room, squished into an undersized chair.

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Throughout the month there is the crunch of dry leaves, the cracking of gunshots and the grunt of effort when dragging home that which will fill the freezer. I hear the soothsaying of snow, the delightful patter of euphoric feet, and the collective groan from a city full of scraping shovels.

The sounds of December are those of rustling coats and the stomping of boots, the rubbing of hands against the numbing, wintery sting. They are the hushed prayers of voices in holy vigil, the retelling of sacred stories to fresh ears and hungry souls.

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The sounds I hear are those of glasses, clinking all in toasts. They are the wishes of warmth and the hope of fellowship, the thirst for triumph and the promise of change.

But most of all, I hear the plaintive yearning of my heart, voicing the wish that December won’t end, that January won’t come and that time will stand still.

December is a month of sounds that sounds so good to me.


Lastly, I leave you with a small gift from me to you. I sing Norah Jones’ song ‘December.’ A tune I feel is my holiday hug to the world.

(And a huge hug of thanks to my wonderfully gifted son for mixing and production.)

Don’t forget to check out what we’re cookin’ in the Scullery (here) and what we all talked about down in the pub (here). And to see more of Robin Gott‘s humor–all from the only pen carved from a human funny bone–click here.

60 thoughts on “The Din of December

  1. Aren’t you a clever chookie!! Love the song, and your singing of it… did you accompany yourself as well? For a few minutes you transported me from the 100 F heat of the Australian first day of summer, to my early life memories of December in Ohio. X

    • Ha! I certainly thought about you and all my friends down below the big beltway whilst writing this essay. I suggest reading it with the freezer door open. Glad it brought you back home for a minute or two. (And yes on the music query – not much of a feat to be honest.) Happy summer to you! xx

  2. Beautifully written post! But from my perspective, having had snow before Thanksgiving that looks like it’s going to stick, I won’t be sad to see the back of December (and January and February, for that matter)… I’ll just have to focus on all the good things, like hot chocolate and down coats and brown paper packages tied up with string;)

    • I remember the days of having a good solid 7 or 8 months touched with powder. As a kid it was wonderful while in the thick of it, torture when spring came. As an adult I simply yearn for a hassle free snow globe of about 2 months. My ideal life. 😉

  3. Shelley (with two ee’s),

    Your writings… such poetic justice; comforting and memory filled fluidity blended with a pinch of peaceful grandeur of a well described season I too cherish. Impressive and filled with memories of the Kool Aide snow cones we made from the snow on the forest floor in our youth.

    Ah winter, it brings such peace and needed respectus.

    P.s. I connect Ben Folds and The Fray, seeing that Ben matched more with Butch Cassidy rather than Eva… but, it may be a stretch. Dig a bit deeper for that reference.

    Best regards,

    Stoshu 🙂

    • Oh, wow. Kool-Aid snow cones and driveway tunnels … those were some magnificent days. I could write a post just about that! Thanks for the memories.
      As far as the reference … my brain is still waiting to connect its morning neurons. It might be a while …

    • Many thanks, Melissa. This is one of those months where the magic just rolls itself out like a giant red carpet. We’re just lucky enough to stroll across it. (And thank you for the lovely compliment about the music!)

  4. My heart positioned itself in a holy hush of anticipation as I read you first words. Then, I clicked to read the remainder of this post, and up pops the hilarity of Rob’s first pic: the mood changes.

    I continue, drawn in by your masterful poetry, until I find myself actually crying! But you don’t allow me to dote on tears…you draw me into images of December that squeeze me, as well, with a deep hug.

    And then, the song. You’ve left me here: tear stained, filled with the longing for “fellowship” and the hand-over of a nice, steamy cup o’ hot chocolate.

    I feel blessed…but I long for more…

  5. Ah, Perfection! What multiple talents you possess! I miss that cold and snowy hush which you described so well. Your voice sounds like you’re one of the most comfortable people around the hang out with. Well done!

    • A million thanks, Kami. I’m so happy it hit the spot. And I think that 3 minute bit of musical tinkering is probably a rare moment in time where my kids would agree my voice is not at it’s customary pitch of shrill and stentorian. I think I prefer the zen zone though. 😉

  6. Reblogged this on Loved and commented:
    Get yourself a coffee, a tea…a glass of wine…look at my German Christmas Baking pic…and listen to this warm December song by Shelley Sackier from her blog, “Peak Perspective”…

  7. This is simply beautiful. Your rich and vivid description of December is so moving, it brings a smile to this Grinch’s face. And that voice! Breathtaking! Thank you so much for sharing. I was listening as I read, thinking, “I have to find out who this very talented artist is. I hope Shelley tells us at the end of the post.” Now I’m off to listen again as my heart grows three sizes bigger.

    • Holy cow, this is one of those compliments where you think you’d best die right after hearing, as chances are, it ain’t gonna get any better than this and it would be nice to go out on top.
      Thank you, Miranda. This comment is going on the fridge. (and the bathroom mirror, and will be made into a t-shirt–possibly a bumper sticker … ;))

      • Display it proudly, Shelley! 🙂 And do keep bringing laughter and light to your readers with your fantastic blog. The world needs more folks like you.

  8. Hi Shelley! First I’d like to thank you for dropping by my blog, if you hadn’t I wouldn’t have found your great site! I loved, loved December Din, you are so gifted with words in your descriptions in every sense and I love Nora Jones and you did it proud! Glad to find you. 🙂

  9. Hi Shelley. Thanks for following me–I recently moved from Shenandoah Valley (lived at Bryce) and taught at Signal Knob Middle School and also at Clarke Co. and Page Co. Your blog is lovely and I enjoyed your bio. Thanks for visiting my blog, and I hope you will come back soon. Cheers!

  10. I cudnt agree more with you on “December” :). Just love the sounds, the coziness…the hustle and bustle of the festival..the business..the crisp air..the snow flakes…all of that…..
    January brings loneliness for me!
    Thanks for visitng me and I am so glad that you gave me a chance to visit you and your beautiful writings.

  11. Pingback: Holiday Memories | Dreaming Blithely

  12. Wow, this was wonderfully poetic. If I may be so bold to offer a suggestion: this blog would make an ideal audiotape (I just pictured the sounds and the scents you described)…That’s something I would gladly fall asleep to (Not sure if it sounds like a compliment when I say your words could help me doze off, but it’s a compliment nonetheless).
    And the song in the end was the metaphorical pineapple on the cake (I know it’s usually cherries, but I prefer pineapples, and a cherry is too small a piece of fruit to give your voice the credit it deserves).
    In short: WOW!

    • Oh, Lester, you are totally squishable. And I consistently learn knew things whenever I share and exchange words with you. For instance, I had no idea beavers adore pineapples. Had I your dam address, I’d box one up and send it to your little hut. Here’s an internet hug in substitute. *squish*

      • I know, for an animal with teeth capable of cutting down trees, I’m quite adorable.
        And since we’re exchanging compliments, you’re very generous it seems. I don’t know about the other beavers, but I personally adore pineapples, which tend to grow about 5000 kilometers south of my habitat:(
        Don’t worry, though, the internet hug was a fairly good substitute.*squish* to you too!

  13. WOW! What a lovely voice you have and the music mixing and production is wonderful. You and your talented son makes a wonderful team Shelley. I got lost in the poetry of the post today. The effect of the song and the post is just magical. Loved it. Take care and God bless.

    • You are so kind to say such lovely things, Samina. I’m grateful for the compliments, but mostly that you took the time out of your day to get lost in the month of December with me. Thank you, thank you. 😉

  14. Shelley, Shelley, Shelly. Your song wisps into my mind morning, noon and night. I really mean it. But, for all that I’m game to be smarmy and affirming…I have to tell you a core truth…

    I don’t give lip service about my passion for God. I’m sooo in love with how He loves me…and if find that, you’re song threads through my heart like a prayer…like a love song from Him to me…”I will carry you home, from the loneliest place you’ve every known…”

    I sing it when I don’t even realize I’m singing it. I break into humming here…and there….and in all the love talk between me and God…you’re just never far from my heart.

    Isn’t it crazy how songs run so very deep into the very core of our lives…

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