In the Spirit of the Season

Dec 30, 2020

It occurs to me that I’ve been unusually quiet these past months here on my website and on social media and on those crowded Zoom calls where it takes me forever to figure out who’s talking.

I guess I’ve struggled with what to say in a year like this; a year about staying home and holding my breath and not giving hugs and doing nothing and then doing more nothing, all while being squeezed in the steely grip of fear and grief.  

It’s been lonely. I was feeling particularly low when Alberta announced the necessary news that Christmas would be cancelled. It meant so many of our traditions would have to be thrown out the window. The noisy cul-de-sac party with the ugliest Christmas sweater competition. The noisy family gathered around the table in our paper crowns pulled out of Christmas crackers. The twenty-pound turkey and the mincemeat pies.

I tried to muster a little courage for the continuing quiet by half-heartedly grabbing my mittens and my husband and stuffing us into the socially distanced front seat of the car. The annual Light Up the Night Festival had been cancelled, but damn it, we were going to drive around town and look at Christmas lights anyway.

I wasn’t expecting much. But the streets were beautiful. Sparklin’, glowin’, glitterin’, shinin’, blinkin’ beautiful. House by house, window by window, Christmas boughs and balls and lights and stars; giant Santas and reindeer and manger scenes nestled in piles of snow.

There it was (and there it continues to be) on full display, the spirit of the season, my neighbours and their neighbours and their neighbours’ neighbours, each one showing up, each one carrying on, loudly shouting their cheer, refusing to be undone by these dark times.

So now that Christmas Day has come and gone, it’s time to start thinking about taking down the tree, boxing up the porcelain villagers, putting away the mistletoe. 2020 is finally—finally—coming to an end and never have I so fervently wished for a happy new year with peace and good health for my brothers and sisters.

Normally I start the new year with a set of good, if somewhat mindless, intentions. Maybe a dry January, a longer writing day, fewer chocolates, less TV.

This year the stakes feel higher. My resolution: to show up; to carry on.

Happy New Year my friends! With warmest wishes for all things bright.

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