Time is at its most mercurial when Christmas draws nigh. It seems so vast, so immense in the build up to the most wondrous of days that often we are let down afterwards.
All the planning, the anticipation, the running around instils a sense of expectation that is more than likely unrealistically high.
And when it’s all over we can feel deflated.
Christmas more than any other time creates a fantastical view of life that we want, that we need, that we cling to. Let’s face it, life in all its ordinary grandeur can be fairly drab. Christmas is sparkly and bubbly. Buoyant with the promise of magic. Full of geese getting fat, chestnuts roasting on open fires and extra merry gentlemen.
Real life is washing your husband’s underwear and scrubbing the coffee stains off the carpet. Not exactly something you’d set to music.
Some of us find it a challenge to get through this time of year. There is a kind of mourning surrounding Christmas which belies the jolly colours with which it is painted.
Whether we care to admit it or not I think most of us feel a little maudlin at this time of year. I think it’s because we know we are saying goodbye to a year, our year, and the truth is that there is another year behind us instead of in front of us and no matter how horrible the year was we are reminded that we are not in charge.
Now we are lodged smack dab in the in-betweenness of Christmas and New Year.
It is a loose ends of sorts.
I don’t think all loose ends are bad things, however.
I enjoy this time, the slow-paced meandering that occurs before another year walks through the door shouting: I’m here, let’s get busy. We’ve got resolutions to fulfil.
(Technically, I don’t make resolutions, but don’t you think that there is always a covert group of resolutions lurking at the back of your mind waiting for you to act upon them? The resolutions that shall not be named…. hiding in the bushes.)
It’s a time of unwinding. Of wistfully staring out into the morning watching butterflies cavort on the lawn. Of sandwiches for dinner and pajamas all day. Of old movies and even older books. Of gallons of iced tea in proper fancy glass jugs because you’ve got time to get the jugs out of the back of the cupboard.
Of staying up late and watching the clouds turn blacker and blacker as the night gets deeper and deeper until the clouds disappear so that all that remains is stillness. And peace. And the likelihood of sleeping until ten.
Between the old year and the new I watch the water. As the birds do. As the water shifts the light down from the sky and ripples form, I wonder if I see the same things the birds do.
Together we sit and watch. Calmed, rested, taking stock of it all.
Gathering what we need to go on.