Well, happy holidays. It is the 2013 version of me again…shortly to become the 2014 version. It’s strange, how time passes, especially after a loss. 2011 was one of those years where when its happening you can’t quite believe that your present consists of this, and then, afterwards, you can’t quite believe that it’s over, that time is passing again. I’ve been focused, for the purpose of this project, on what happened thirteen years ago, and that is the recollection process I’ve been sharing here. But inside myself…when I started this project, the first time I tried this blog, in 2012, it had been a year, less, since we lost the school. We were doing everything without it for the first time. Now, it’s been two years and soon it will be three. Simple arithmetic, counting, but I can’t quite wrap my head around it.
But I really mean “happy holidays.” I’m not being sarcastic, I really want you to have happy holidays, and I really anticipate having happy holidays myself. We’re going up to my in-laws’ for Christmas, then to my parents’ place a few days later—we have to give both sets of grandparents equal access to the baby—and then a big New Years’ Eve party with friends. But the advantage of having pagan tendencies is you get an extra holiday, and a group of us from school are getting together for Yule to watch the sun come up, like we used to. And I guess it is planning for that that has me feeling mopey and sad.
And, of course, it is a season for sadness. I don’t particularly get depressed in the winter—I don’t really get depressed at all, but of course I’m aware that people do. And you get older, you get far enough into adulthood, and there’s a certain poignancy that happens, the weight of all the things that don’t quite work out--even in the midst of a fantastically blessed life such as mine has been—and sometimes it just gets to a person. I miss being that little boy for whom chocolate and some new matchbox cars were miracle enough.
Kit says that because it’s a season for sadness, that we should get together and celebrate, have holidays, now.
For once I have no corrections to make to my narrative—none I haven’t made before, I mean. Of course, a lot more happened then I can write about, as ever, but those days in early winter really not a lot was happening. I was busy, but I was busy doing quiet things. I interacted with my fellow students a little more than it might seem from reading my story, but mostly I kept to myself, except to go tracking or hiking with Rick every two or three days. The following year I was much more involved in making the holidays happen, and the same with the year after that…in fact, I’ve been pretty busy making the holidays happen every single year since, but as a kid and even as a teenager I never did anything to get ready other than help clean up the house, decorate the tree, and buy a few presents. And I never thought about it. The holidays were when you had time off to play… I never thought about it at the time, because I’d never known anything different, and it didn’t occur to me to wonder when things would change. I didn’t know it, but that Christmas season when I was twenty, thirteen years ago, was the very last holiday I got to spend doing nothing.
Now, I’m writing this on my wife’s laptop (mine is in the shop—a problem with the charging port, I think) surrounded by pre-holiday detritus and pieces of Christmas tree and boxes of ornaments and baby toys. We’re listing to James Taylor and Carly is dancing, bending her knees and bobbing up and down to the music the way she does. She can stand unassisted now, but she still needs to crawl to get any place.
James Taylor reminds me of Allen, oddly enough. They don’t look much alike--Allen is stockier, with more hair--and Allen isn’t a great musician, as I’ve mentioned. And yet something about their stage presence is similar, a certain delightedness in what they do. And I’ve heard Allen play James Taylor songs often enough, so there’s that too. James Taylor, Simon and Garfunkel, the Grateful Dead, the basic American songbook material…Charlie always preferred early Jimmy Buffet, plus random songs from a dozen different genres and nothing less than twenty years old.
I’m getting tired. I’m rambling. Good night.