Saturday, December 11, 2010

Tis the Season

Christmas is in full swing, and by the looks of it, so am I. After what was a difficult fall, where I felt like I was spinning my wheels, searching for answers, and down in the dumps, I feel alive, I feel present, I feel like I'm back to being me and somewhat happy. The cold has come and with it layers upon layers of clothing. My soup and tea intake have gone up significantly in the past weeks and after a brief couple days of feeling cruddy, think I am back and moving, thanks to lots of rest and Theraflu. I love and hate the cold. At times, I love to coop myself up and never leave home, wanting warmth and comfort. On the other hand, I love to defy the cold. To layer it up and bravely go outside, go out, determined to still live. There is a certain mischievous quality to going out in the winter, a feeling of escape and triumph. Another thing I love about the winter are the clothes. You can bundle up and layer to your heart's content. You can justify that second helping or piece of pie because no one is going to see you in your bathing suit anytime soon. And unlike other seasons of the year, stress is not on dressing fashionable or sexy, but merely warm. Without a doubt the warmest person at the party is looking the best.

Revived, released from a coma of grief, self-pity, and artistic exhaustion, I feel I am ready to live, to work, to be a good friend again. Yet, while I feel my efforts should be centered on some artistic effort, whether planning my next audition, learning new music, or even writing in this blog, most of my thoughts of late have been centered around my friends and family and the coming holidays. Besides working, I have been keeping busy catching up with old friends, both in person and on the telephone, writing Christmas cards, and planning holiday festivities. Instead of grappling with noble, philosophical concepts like love, God, morality, delving into politics or critiquing high art, I am debating whether to serve ham or turkey at our coming holiday gathering, what we should drink, what I should wear, what music we should play. Now, true, this year's holiday comes with a particular bitter note, a reminder of what we have lost, a test in where do we go from here? So, perhaps all this extra pondering over matters of pie filling and gift exchanges only give witness to the true reverence of these familial celebrations: that in spite of all, we can give thanks, we can celebrate, we can continue to love and cherish each other, and perhaps even to grow. While Christmas cards are only paper, glue, and ink, gifts merely representations of money spent dressed with a pretty bow, and Christmas treats just empty calories, they are so much more than that. Through these rituals, these traditions, we learn, we grow, we are refreshed, reminded of where we have come from. For me (and for you too I hope!), there is a certain holiness to the holidays (they are after all holy-days). Each year for Christmas, I pester my mother to bring the good China out for Christmas dinner. True, they may break and cannot go in the dishwasher, but these plates are a physical marker of the specialness of the occasion, the sanctity, that it's about more than just food going into our mouths. As we head into this holiday swing, take pride and have fun in whipping out your favorite recipes and sweaters, watching classic holiday movies (I'm treating myself to White Christmas this evening), and trimming the tree.

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