Christmas was a lovely, quiet interlude. Attila and I drew our chairs up to the ottoman and contentedly sipped hot chocolate, nibbled on treats, and read. Everyone who entered our home did so with goodwill in their hearts, all departed with our good wishes. Truly a Christmas to remember.
Of course, nothing is perfect. Christmas seems to bring out the best and the worst in people. Proclaimed on Christmas morning was a surprise communication of my own failings, delivered under the guise of concern. Had the description been based on anything resembling reality, it might have been a cloud with a silver lining. Sadly, it was based on assumptions, ignorance, judgements, and small mindedness; and so was rendered useless and hurtful. I can not help but think that there may have been a better time than Christmas morning to deliver such a missive.
Attila and I were both stunned by the advisement.
"I was only going to say," said Scrooge's nephew, "that the consequence of his taking a dislike to us, and not making merry with us, is, as I think, that he loses some pleasant moments, which could do him no harm. I am sure he loses pleasanter companions than he can find in his own thoughts..."
All of these things have me pondering the New Year, which is just around the corner, and reviewing the past year, which is nearly at an end. How time alters the world!
What a year 2001 has been. The biggest personal change has been two daughters grown and gone. As well, there has been the discovery and treatment of Ariel's cancer. All this has taken place in the context of political conflicts, in particular the war on terrorism.
We contemplated little of what transpired in 2001 during last year's New Year's Eve celebrations. The year before, 2000, we feared monumental shifts in the world, with Y2K computer failures. We did not imagine then, that loss of life and peace of mind would embrace the entire world in the years to come.
Today a light snow is drifting down from the sky. The world is a grayscale rendition of winter. Visually colorless, the gently descending snow has a calming effect. Muted by movement are the harsh contrasts of black and white. Small frozen bits of water descend from heaven to earth, bringing life to rigidity.
In the neighborhood people are out with their shovels; they are wrapped in warm coats, cozy hats and mitts, and seem quite jolly as they bank the snow around their drives and sidewalks. Standing by the window watching I remember how it felt to tackle thoughtlessly such tasks as shoveling snow. How blithely unaware I was of the fragility of such capabilities. I would have enjoyed them more than I did, had I known. It is good, however, to humbly watch these small evidences of "peace on earth".
It is the holiday season and we continue to feast upon leftovers. We have not tired of turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, peas, and corn. There are still tempting bits of apple and mincemeat pie, laid out on the Christmas table. Chocolate treats still wait underneath the Christmas tree to be rediscovered and enjoyed.
Christmas lights and the scent of pine create an atmosphere of festivity as we move through the days towards the New Year.
Attila leaves each morning in darkness, to spend his days outdoors in the snowy countryside. He arrives home tired from honest work, satisfied with a job well done.
I spend these holidays working on various projects and attempting to sort through the administrative nightmares that seem to glue our society together.
Lately I have been daydreaming. I dream of social projects that create benefits for all. My definition of "all" expands beyond the painstakingly selected visible and measured "all" that populates statistical studies and popular journalism. My definition of benefits relates to the basic things people need, as opposed to things people come to need through social circumstance. My list of benefits would start with food for all, clothing for all, shelter for all...
Of course, those who already have these things, thankfully this includes Attila and I, would not receive additional wealth. Therein lies the problem, "success" being so much admired and related to the extra-essential.
I do not think I am alone in my dreams. I think there is a little bit of that naive Tiny Tim in most of us.
|RECIPES :: Cast
New Slippers, New View
By the Easy Chair
Life in a Medieval Village
by Frances and Joseph Gies
(reading this book is an ongoing project, lots to digest here)
Best of Scottish Pipes and Drums
by The Dan Air Scottish Pipe Band
Temp: -5` C
Wind: W 22 km/h
Sunrise 7:55 AM EST
Sunset 4:57 PM EST
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