One winter, I spent a twilight turning to dark and into deep night making my way west to east across northern Mississippi in a car that seemed reluctant to make the trip. Holiday lights in the shapes of stars and candy canes and Santa greeted me as I made my way through small towns. Along the darkened roads, Christmas tree lights shining through a window in the distance and nearby porches covered in winter lights — fairy lights, they call them in some places — seemed to wish me well on my travels.
Other times and places have reminded me of the quieter side of travels at the winter holidays. It is a time and a circumstance which may be filled with hurry and noise, and yet there is quiet and peace — and music — often in the most unexpected of places
Waiting for the commuter rail train. In Natick, Massachusetts at first snowfall of the day
In the Cooley Peninsula in Ireland, dark midnight with only a pinpoint of light across the bay, and the only other light that of stars in the winter sky
In New York state, hearing a friend making her debut with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, and walking out of the hall to the beginning of snowfall
In Austin, Texas, joining in as carols are sung in English at the head of Congress Avenue by the Texas State Capitol , enjoying the lively celebrations of merchants along the way, and further along the street being beckoned in to a community celebration of the holiday in Spanish and Native American ways
The crunch of winter leaves and frost as I follow path in the woods on Christmas Eve in north Florida
Walking home from a concert late on a winter night along Buchanan Street in Glasgow, as a lone piper plays Silent Night
I always find music a good companion for such travels in winter. A few ideas on that for you to explore
note: click on the album covers and text links to hear bits of the music
Al Petteway and Amy White offer music on guitar piano, voice, and other instruments for the reflective album Winter Tidings
Traditional music of the season taken down to the essence is what Will Taylor and Karen Mal share with mandolin and guitar on A Mandolin Christmas
A Christ Child Lullabye from Scotland’s Western Isles. a song of making it through the holidays from contemporary Cape Breton and Americana artists, an ancient winter hymn from Brittany in France, a lively reel from Ireland for Christmas Eve, Silent Night sung in Gaelic — these ae but a few of the gems you’ll find on Narada Presents: The Best of Celtic Christmas
from Tish Hinojosa, a waltz of hope, a song for Hanukah in Spanish, a celebration of miracles good for any season, a funny conversation with her Christmas tree, the jounrny of the Holy Family seeking shelter told through traditional song in Spanish — all part of her recording From Texas for a Christmas Night
Kerry Dexter is one of five writers who contribute to Perceptive Travel’s blog. You’ll most often find her writing about travels in Europe and North America in stories that connect to music, history, and the arts, including such things as gifts for the traveler: music and the history of Christmas wreaths.
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(Photograph of a winter fire in Ireland is by Kerry Dexter and is copyrighted. thank you for respecting this.)