I live and write on Lingít Aaní, and gratefully acknowledge the past, present and future caretakers of this beautiful place, the Jilkaat Kwaan and Jilkoot Kwaan.

“There are always those perfect times with the people we love, those moments of joy and equality that sustain us later on…These moments are the foundation upon which we build the house that will shelter us into our final years, so that when love calls out, “How far would you go for me?” you can look it in the eye and say truthfully, “Farther than you would ever have thought was possible.” ― Ann Patchett, This is the Story of a Happy Marriage

This morning at 6:00, after I had fed the dogs, stoked the fire, made coffee and read a bit– I’m reading Patchett’s essays now–  this is my advent gift. Not opening the phone or turning on the radio until I’ve been up for an hour or two. It’s amazing how good it is for me– anyway, this morning at 6 I grabbed my swim bag and went out to the car, and Chip was coming down from working out above the garage and in the dark I heard him say, “Come up here. The house looks really pretty from the deck.”

And we just looked a minute. At the house. Our home. In the snow. Fresh snow. At Christmastime. There’s a lot in those walls.

What do you give a man who has everything he wants? I have been writing Chip thank you notes every day in December  and hiding them in the house, like Elf on a Shelf. It’s nice to see him smile when he reads them. This morning, I’m grateful that he strings the lights on the house and that he really likes the big colored ones, and that he whistles in the shower.