The sun is rising up over the trees of my hollow , painting the pines, the maples and the oaks with a magic that only God himself can bestow. The dark sentinels recognize that day is starting and gives way to the light. It is quiet. The kind of quiet that can only be found when we still ourselves. No television. No cars. Only the quiet of the reality that , no matter where we go, possessions don’t matter. Outside in the forest packages tied up in bows , really have no value .
I’m sitting here in my little frame house, warmed by the fire ,of the wood -stacked by my husband (before he headed off to his job) , a handmade afghan on my feet , a tiny , furry dog making snuffling noises as she settles her way ever deeper into the cocoon she has made for herself.
It’s that time of the year again. Where people seem to turn into frantic genetically engineered gerbils stuck on a giant wheel that spins ever faster. I am often agog at the speed they are able to manage, and wait in a kind of morbid fascination wondering if the wheel will fly off into some other galaxy at the current rate they are going. The stores are jammed packed with those who carry those sacred lists ; as though those pieces of paper somehow carry the keys to true happiness, or even the map to Ponce’ de’ Leon’ s fabled fountain. Gripped so tightly , and conversing to some unseen person ( themselves?) , that I can’t help but ponder if a trip to Bedlam might needs be in order.
I know they are doing their best , to make the ones who made those lists happy. That “perfect” gift . The end goal being , to see the lights in their eyes shine so brightly that all of the effort was worth it, thus granting them Le’ons immortality. and that ever elusive JOY. But…………….temporary. Because those toys are tossed aside by next month’s end, as the next “it” thing is discussed, in terms of , “Well, NEXT year I am going to ask for ………………!” Bigger , better, more expensive. So back on the gerbil wheel the givers go.
Til suddenly their legs, finances, stresses, and sanity ; give way, and the wheel comes to a grinding halt. It is an unsustainable momentum……… the mythic fountain just out of reach.
For what has been obscured in the misty fog of store lights, faux snowdrifts, bedazzled costumes and the street hawkers is this : immortality , the fountain of a memory of youth is not hidden in any of those things. It’s hidden in the decisions you’ve made every day , of every season. Summer; in laughing with those you love over some ridiculous joke . Fall; in feeling that full crisp air hit you while you walk down the street having a conversation that will never be remembered, but the moment will. Spring; in the first flower spotted by someone and you realize that Winter is truly over; and Winter ; all of Winter, when the weather forces you indoors to sit together talking about “Remember the time , we?” and “I will never forget the day that we ……….”
Those are gifts. Not in department store boxes, not in bags, or in the ubiquitous gift cards of our era. THOSE.
May we never become so jaded that we forget that THOSE are the gifts worth remembering.