Ah, the holidays. As much as I love Christmas (and, as you can see from this photo, the poinsettia in my garden feels the same), I really love the week that follows, when things slow down, to-do lists shorten and it's possible to take a deep breath and just enjoy the little things -- like, for instance, having a cat on your lap while you write a blog post (hint: that's happening RIGHT NOW).
As I reflect upon this year, I keep coming back to an article that appeared in the New York Times on October 24. It was titled "The Island Where People Forget to Die" and introduced us to the Greek island of Ikaria, where people live into their 100s. Some of the findings as to why the people there live so long are not only important in terms of longevity but also in terms of quality of life, which is something I've been pondering a lot this year.
The good thing for gardeners is that the garden is a central part of the Ikarian lifestyle. In fact, their description of a routine day involves waking naturally, working in the garden, having a late lunch and a nap, and then in the evening sharing some wine with friends. Pretty ideal, eh? They also eat local honey every day -- some of them taking a spoonful each morning as if it was medicine.