On Christmas morning, I came downstairs to find Shaggy Hair Boy sitting on the floor with some charcoal, some soil, and a cool glass container that Jazz Piano Teacher had given him. He looked up, “Hey, Mom. Can you get me some moss?”
He was making a Christmas Present for Smiley Girl: a terrarium. He’d been talking about the present, and he’d even gone to the pet store to buy the charcoal, but for some reason he decided to wait until there was at least a foot of snow on the ground to ask me for some moss.
More than 20 family members were coming for dinner that day, and I had a long to-do list, but a walk in the woods by myself seemed utterly appealing. I handed him a ten-pound bag of potatoes. “Will you be charge of making the potatoes for Christmas dinner?”
He glanced up from his project. “Sure.”
Outside, I breathed in the moist, cold air. Fluffy snow on every branch and stump muffled the usual noises of the woods. My boots barely made a sound as they sunk into the snow. I went to the base of an old tree in a low part of the woods, dug down to get to the moss, and selected just a bit with my mittens.
Within minutes I had enough moss, but I walked farther anyhow, just to admire the way the snow had transformed fallen trees into works of white-trimmed art. Then I returned to the warm house, where my husband and kids were busy cleaning and setting up for our annual holiday meal.