December….

23 11 2011

It’s been our tradition for many years to journey from northern New York where we live to southeastern Lower Michigan to spend the Thanksgiving holidays with my family.  I was raised in Michigan and it has continued to be home for most of my family.  It is always a special time.

This year is a bit different.  Our children are off in different parts of the globe, learning, traveling and growing.  And retail being what it is, we are unable to make the seasonal trek of nearly 500 miles as work requires us to be here in New York for the madness of Black Friday.

One prominent feature of these trips to Michigan has been the soundtrack.  Or tracks.  Our route takes us across Ontario, Canada via the 401, through Toronto and over into Michigan’s thumb.  It is dark, sometimes snowy, filled with beautiful lake shore scenery, bright city lights and Tim Horton’s donut shops.  When our girls were young, we listened to lots of stories on radio or tape.  Cassette tape.  We’ve been at this  a long time.

And there has always been music. Especially Christmas music.  Thanksgiving for us is the vestibule of the Christmas holidays.  Denuded trees.  Snow.  Chill.  Detroit Lions.  Canterbury Village.  Tinsel.  Winter solstice a month away.

One particular favorite is pianist George Winston’s album December.  It creates a warm and winsome ambience, almost mystical.  Ideal for the shorter days, longer nights, chilly air and the quiet of the season.  The opening piece, “Thanksgiving,” is meditative, with darker hues, in a minor key.  This track embodies the sense of twilight, chill and the onset of Winter.

The album has other treasures.  Winston gives beautiful readings of Johann Pachelbel’s  signature “Canon in D” and Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.”  As well the hypnotic “Carol of the Bells” and my favorite “Jesus, Jesus, Rest Your Head.”  And more.

Buy this album.  It will embellish your holidays in ways you can’t imagine.

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