Daylight is tight, but I can't really complain about being able to road bike in December. I can move faster in this cooler air. And even though the pavement is just as dry as summer, and the sky just as clear as ever, there's something quieter ... more contemplative ... about these early winter evenings, even in California. Or maybe that's just a vestige of the winters I spent in colder climates — an expectation that there has to be a time when everything quiets down.
I struggled with the decision about whether or not to return to Utah for the holidays. I've been lucky enough to enjoy several opportunities to go home in the past year. I was just there last month. As my family grows older and more dispersed, we've shed many of our former expectations in favor of more open-ended traditions. My large extended family still gathers in my grandmother's church building for a quirky celebration of summer food (fried chicken and potato salad) and a talent show by the grandchildren, a tradition that has shifted to the great-grandchildren. There is that. But my immediate family has been more open to the year-round welcoming of togetherness, without an implied demand that it has to take place on or around December 25. Of course, they wanted me to come home for Christmas. And I wanted to be home. But home isn't as much of a clear-cut proposition for me these days.