She drew the bow through amber wax and rubbed the strings up and back, over the curve of callused wood where ivory skin and chin relaxed, pressed firm the tail to shoulder graceful.
I saw Mother's eyes flash fiery flecks, reflect the flames of fire that leapt high from the hearth with woody sap snapping loud behind us; and then she closed them, dark lashes fanning crests over milky cheeks tilted low, with the smooth of her hair escaping in auburn tress, and she becoming one with her music.
Buttery strains shushed the dark as slender hands fiddled Silent Night with a soothing legato, soft as a baby's hush-a-bye, resonating fifths and lilting lifts, notes curling warm and floating to rest lush like our bed of downy goose-feathers, and us on our knees at the foot to bless Jesus.
Like flakes we drifted dazed in the lull, adoring, our eyes--four little-boy brown and my girlish blue--hung bright like stars on strings as we beheld their beauty, she smiling honey, and he dazzling, strong, leaning together, our breath caught and held forever in their love song.
Dad started first with smooth Irish tenor, and Mother joined dulcet in cheery, rich alto. The two became one as they harmonized holy an ancient story--words dripping heaven shine, golden alms for the poor--God's Son born in a manger, a mother's gift given for all mankind, for love and light and peace and laughter.
And chills ran wild along my skin, and tears lay bitter-sweet on cheeks again waiting for Mother-lips to wipe them clean. And long the years of lonely after she passed, and long the waiting for another glimpse of song or bow or smile or touch, and only in the remembering...
All was calm. All was bright. All was good that Christmas night when Dad and dear Mother sang carols joyous to their wee ones. The boys and I, we huddled close and dozed, wrapped warm in soothing melody, before we lay our heads on downy soft, all three tucked tight with hugs and prayers and dreams of hope to lead us.
Photo Courtesy: flickr - Luz A. Villa