A few days before Midwinter, Rabbit had ventured to the woods to gather a basketful of cypress needles, which she planned to use in a batch of scented candles. Although they were a glossy reddish-brown and not green at all, the needles smelled deliciously like a crisp, snowy day spent among pines and fir trees.
Two days before Midwinter, and Old Possum had already made his Yule-tree garlands: yards and yards of threaded popcorn and berries, all wound into a neat pile in the corner of the living room, awaiting his annual Midwinter tree-decorating party.
The morning of Midwinter’s Eve was unexpectedly — delightfully — snowy. As Crow and her cousins helped Old Possum carry the tree into his living room, a gust of cold wind sent snowflakes floating and swirling through the front door along with the tree, where they melted delicately on the rug. Possum and the birds maneuvered the tree into the usual spot in front of the window, well away from the hearth. And once they were finished, the crows bustled outside — in a rush of wings — to play in the snow, and Possum was left blissfully alone with the short, cloudy day. He settled into his comfiest chair, by the fire, ready to enjoy a pot of strong tea, a slice of gingerbread, a good book, and Christmas music on the phonograph … while also looking forward to a visit that evening with his friend Mouse, whom he’d invited over for a quiet supper.
(Late December 2023)