24 December – Thresholds

Untitled, by Katherine Woodard, http://katherinewoodard.com/

Untitled, by Katherine Woodard, http://katherinewoodard.com/

Christmas Eve makes me think of thresholds, standing at a border, knowing that the dawn will bring anticipated, but unknown changes.

What other thresholds do we cross?

Of what significance are the moments just before you close your eyes on the known, understanding that you will wake to the new?

How does this writing prompt advent calendar work?
This entry was posted in Non-parabolic trajectory, Writing, Writing Prompt Advent Calendar 2013. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to 24 December – Thresholds

  1. Melissa says:

    Thresholds: The night before the first day of school, always, whether as student, parent, or teacher; the afternoon before our wedding, spending a few moments of solitude at a local country store just a few miles down the road looking at a pen of baby chicks; the sunset and moonrise of the late afternoon and dusk hours before my first baby was born; the space of time between the first and last boarding calls for our plane ride to the UK over 7 years ago with one-way tickets; saying goodbye.

    But there are thresholds that I’ve passed without even realizing they were turning points, summits, white-stone days until much later. Although there is much to be said for being in the present moment, I do love the luxury of memory and having time to track back through moments full of import that happen so quickly and that need growth and reflection to come into focus.

    The children are ‘snug in their beds,’ as the poem advises. Before heading up to bed, my son said ‘Next time I see you, it will be Christmas!’ with eyes full of excitement. It is no small thing to witness their joy and anticipation. And soon, it will be Christmas morning.

    This advent calendar has been a joy and a journey, and I thank all those who shared writing, images, links, and comments – both on the blog and off. With a full heart, I wish you the very best of the season.

    See you in 2014!

    • Christina says:

      I didn’t think of those threshold moments that you only understand later. The more of life you have to look back on, the more you start to see them: that moment everything changed.
      Lovely image of your children anticipating Christmas Day! Mine are too teenage to bother now – though all of us got excited this year when we saw our pile of presents to open!

  2. Jill says:

    Those are important thresholds, Melissa. As for the present and the past, I agree completely. I am grateful to be able to enjoy the present moment, revisit the past, and think about the future.
    Your son’s excitement and goodnight words on Christmas Eve were most endearing. Thank you for sharing that. A very merry Christmas to you and your family!

  3. Jill says:

    I will write about a commonplace threshold: opening a gift. The time between deciding to open a gift and having removed enough of the wrapping to see what is inside is familiar to all of us. What do we think about during that threshold? Perhaps during thresholds, experience rather than thought predominates, as we are in a state of not knowing. When opening a gift, I feel curiosity, warmth towards the person who has made this gift-giving gesture, and the gaze of anyone looking on.

    It’s interesting how our approach to receiving gifts changes as we age. As a child, I couldn’t wait to open presents, and would do so as soon as allowed. As an adult, I savor the mystery and anticipation. I delay opening packages. I admire the wrapping for a moment before deciding to put my finger under the seam. Our family Christmas gift exchanges take a lot longer now, because we’re all this way.

    A few Christmases ago, my mom handed me a shoebox-sized package. She then got her camera ready. My curiosity was heightened, of course, as I wondered what special item was inside. I finally removed the wrapping and opened the box: there was my childhood teddy bear, which had been at my parents’ house since I’d gone off to college. Suddenly I was a little girl again and here was my familiar ever-true friend. My eyes welled up. I’m not sure why my mom thought this would be a good photo-op (she wanted a picture of me wiping my eyes?) but I was glad she had brought me this important item from my childhood. A happy childhood might itself be the ultimate gift, and my parents had already given me that all those years ago. Here was just a small reminder. It now sits on the shelf next to my bed.

    This writing prompt advent calendar has been a great gift, too, Melissa! I enjoyed reading the prompt each morning, thinking about it during the day, and writing (for more than 5 minutes) each night. Each day was therefore a type of extended gift-opening threshold (though one filled with thought, counter to what I wrote above) because even after knowing the prompt, I was in suspense about what I would write. The gift was only fully received after I had written. Thank you again for doing this – it was a wonderful idea and beautifully executed!

    • Christina says:

      I love your story of the teddy bear gift. And the thought of opening gifts as a threshold too. Lovely.

      • Melissa says:

        I love the teddy bear story, too! It makes me teary. Matt really likeds your comment about a happy childhood being the ultimate gift. Thanks for the thoughts about the calendar, as well. Even though I knew what the prompts were going to be, I found that what I actually wrote was different from what I thought I would write about when I created the prompt. It has been so fun, too, to see all the different directions and dimensions you guys have taken the prompts. Really glad to have had this little community spring up for the month of December.

  4. Christina says:

    I love doorways, just as I love paths! Stepping over a threshold is a magical moment. I’m immediately thinking of stepping through the doorway of one of the recreated moorland cottages at the Ryedale Folk Museum. Inside is another world, the past come to the present, a storybook picture come to life. That’s a literal threshold, and life isn’t changed forever by stepping inside, just for as long as you stay there till you step back out.
    More interesting are those thresholds we cross after which nothing is ever the same; there’s no way back, once you’re through. I love the eve of a new start, like Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve. Plans and resolutions seem more powerful at these times, although in theory you could make them at any point during the year.
    The moment just before, as you close your eyes, is an exciting one. It’s comfortable too. Plans and action are all for tomorrow and not today. The eve is a glowing, rosy moment. The time which follows, just like the hard winter months after Christmas, can be challenging and dispiriting. But life continues, as does the path.
    I hope my path will cross over those of others here in 2014. Thanks Melissa for these fantastic prompts – they are just what I needed to do right now! Happy new year to all :-)

    • Melissa says:

      I like doorways, too – your description made me think of Alice in Wonderland, deciding which doors to go through. There is something so sweet about anticipation, regardless of what happens next.

      You are very welcome for the prompts, Christina! Thanks for all the ways you added to the project. Happy New Year to you, too!

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