As it has a habit of doing from time to time during the winter months, a cold front blew into the Texas Hill Country today, just in time to get everyone into the Christmas spirit. Although the morning temperature today was still in the 50’s, the rain made it feel much colder. And, on a day like this, most everyone in the hill country should take on an even greater understanding and appreciation of the hardships the Native Americans, Spanish explorers, and early settlers of the hill country faced when the weather turned cold. Actually, one does not even have to go back that far in time, as hill country folk did not even begin to receive electricity until the 1930’s, when the hill country’s favorite son, Lyndon Johnson, made it a reality.
Christmas Eve in the Texas Hill Country is no different than a lot of places around the country I guess, given the ample supply of shopping and outlet malls which cater to the last minute Christmas shopping "insanity" which seems to strike so many people this time of year. But unlike a lot of places, the hill country provides an alternative, should you choose to seek it.
My dog and I headed out into the remote solitude of the hill country this morning in an attempt to distance ourselves from cash registers, blinking lights, wrapping paper, and frenzied people. The cold and rain did not deter us in our quest to avoid the very worst things the holiday season brings, those being, commercialization, greed, the exchange of money, and stressed-out families. Except for the ever-present deer and birds found in the hill country, we did not run into another living thing on our journey, and that, to me, made for a successful day. It was, as it should be.
The quiet solitude of the hill country, the cold rain, and the companionship of my dog, gave me time to slow down, and reflect on the meaning of Christmas one day in advance of the day itself. Instead of last minute scurrying about and standing in long lines waiting to purchase something for someone that will no doubt be forgotten by noon on Christmas; I did something far more important. I took a few hours on the day before Christmas to find a quiet place in these historic hills to truly think about why Christmas Day is celebrated, and what it means for all of us.