I’ve been cheating on you.
I’ve been spoon feeding you stories written a couple of years ago in order to buy myself time over these past couple of months. The kind of deep reflection it requires to kick out an insightful post has been derailed by a string of black pearls called holidays. Black pearls because they are my favorites, with their deep graphitic luster and heft – not necessarily the piece de resistance of the masses – but to me the most beautiful and striking, as they nestle against the delicate network of blue veins and translucent skin of a woman’s chest.
Since even the stars have predisposed me to speak a bold truth, I cannot simply write about the holidays, for if I did, you would have sensed my discomfort, even inauthenticity. To force this kind of expression might be fine practice for myself, but when shared with others, it could convey confusion and disconnection. I also would not wish to have tainted your own holiday experience, no matter when or what you celebrate. I sincerely desire as much joy for you as possible; ergo, the reworked stories.
This season’s sad disharmony is not the fault of my favorite festivities, nor is it reflective of deeper childhood wounding. Further, it is not about what I dream of – it is, in fact, not about me at all. It seems beyond my control that this holiday season I am finely attuned to the pulse of the public; to the suffering of those around me. Perhaps because the sweet distraction of my grown daughters lies an ocean away. Or maybe, as Joni Mitchell lilts in Woodstock, “Maybe it’s the time of year, or maybe it’s the time of man.” No matter the reason, this year my focus is clearly on those who suffer. They seemed to surround me, driving inward my own grief of passings like dry autumn leaves, stragglers wrest from deciduous branches one by final one in the bleak of winter’s grasp.
I would not want you to prickle at my piques of dissatisfaction with the human race during the holidays of all times, when what we most need and desire is elevation out of the dreary depths. After all, headed into the darkest days naturally makes us long for the light. And the light responds, for Solstice transforms what is shortest into a lengthening stride, breaking the spell. Simultaneously we are cast into the mad rush of a Christmas holiday, as breathlessly we strive to muster courage for an upcoming New Year.
It is with exhaustion that many forge into the dreaded or anticipated 2012 like leaning hard into a winter gale. For what choice do we have but to welcome it in, like a stranger from that bitter cold – put feet to the fire and listen with rapt attention as its story unravels before us.
I don’t know what is in store for me or for you – but of this I am certain: change is afoot. And change, though at times daunting, is as welcome as a rare day of deep azure and brilliant winter sunshine, casting joy and unseasonable warmth onto verdant fields and recalcitrant wildlife after weeks of soaking rains.