A mode of normality is restored. The few decorations which come out every year for Christmas are back in their cupboard. The cards have been taken down. Our guests have gone home. The last remnants of the turkey - some stock. which has formed a promising jelly in the fridge - will be used to night in a soup. "Soup of the evening, beautiful soup".
When delivering a card to a neighbour who has just had a successful operation, I have the opportunity to apologise to his wife for writing: "Dear D, Heidi has just heard from D that you are recovering from an operation. We would like ... etc". I should have written "Dear D, I have just heard from A..." Please apologise to D," I say. "I quite understand," says A " I do the same thing myself." I should of course have written a new card but the cold weather seems to have slowed me down like the birds in The Grove. Now I feel reassured and forgiven.
I enjoy the effect of the Christmas tree with its blinking lights beside the front door; I also enjoy taking a pair of secateurs to the tree and cutting it into 9 in. lengths so that it can be stowed away tidily in a green Garden Waste bag. This is surely what Whitman meant when he said he contained multitudes.
Soup - primordial, primitive, parsnippity or potato-y - we are but soup.
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