A Buche de Noël is a traditional French pastry/cake for the season of Christmas. It usually consists of cake and frosting rolled together into a wheel or a log, which is then decorated with ‘mushrooms’ made out of meringue, white chocolate bark made to look like birch bark, whorls of chocolate frosting to look like the interior of the log, sugar plums, and sugared rosemary. They’re beautiful. Ours was made by a local bakery, and we served it at our open house a week ago. About fifty people tromped through our house for food, drink, conversation, and merry-making… and this was the centerpiece that we sliced up and served before the party finally broke up… nearly four hours after its nominal ending time. It’s been a year since we moved, and it’s feeling like home, more and more.
At this time of the year, it’s hard to know if you’re celebrating Christmas (the child of light coming into the world), the Headless One (the Moon on the shoulders of the constellation Orion, or the first decan of Capricorn), or the Winter Solstice, or Hanukkah, or something else (Festivus, perhaps?). I’ve said before that we should be conscious that not everyone is celebrating the same thing, nor is everyone conscious of the same theologies. But today, after yesterday’s epic storm, the neighbors shoveled out the driveway free of charge; people were polite and patient in the grocery store; and a week ago no one fought about politics or economics or the tax plan. In the choice between midwinter death or cake, people chose cake. We all choose cake — it’s very popular.
As this longer winter (astrologically speaking, at least), settles in…. it would be good to remember to take some time for cake. Invite your friends. Show them a good time. Help them remember that it doesn’t have to be all gloom and weariness. In the times of frost… sometimes a little frosting can help.