Tuesday, December 27, 2011

No Holiday Blues

A finely furnished tree glows softly in the night as the fire place dims and plates are washed and stowed. Tomorrow, the radio will cease to play the jolly tunes of long-gone sleigh bells and half-eaten chestnuts. And Christmas will be over. 

Rather than saying this begrudgingly, I observe this fact with more of a gentle nod than rolling eyes. Ironically, I like the quiet of the days spent on Christmas vacation after presents are opened, tailored outfits are worn and anticipation no longer hangs in the air. Perhaps they remind me of my retreat, of peacefulness and days where clocks don’t exist. On vacation, time seems to warp, contorting itself to the slow motion pace everyone secretly yearns for. 

This is what I love about home, aside from the fridge stocked with food, the hibernation of alarm clocks. I love the old movies watched. The puzzles made. The talks at 2am in the family room. The truth is I love my home and my family. And that outweighs the fact that Christmas is over. What I do love about the holidays specifically are the traditions—mass, dressing up, singing carols, driving to see the lights, preparing our favorite recipes. But rather than mourn their end, I look forward to their return.
So as the decorations change, the lights go down, the music reverts and the Starbucks cups return to their dull white, I remain cheerful and content, sighing at another year ending and that of the one to come.

Saturday, December 3, 2011


What repeatedly surprises me is how much can happen in a single day--the range of emotions, actions, failures, or accomplishments we're capable of experiencing within 24 hours. We spend our lives making checklists and scheduling appointments, filling the time, giving ourselves meaning. And then the night comes. We sleep, either exhausted from the day's length or anxious for the one to come. autopilot.We call this living.

My dog, Scooby, died yesterday. Simply put, he was one of my favorite things in the whole wide world. Yesterday, I turned autopilot off. He was worth the change.

I write about it now, perhaps to honor him in revealing that his death took me off my schedule, away from my appointments, past my checklist and into that range of emotions we're capable of experiencing in that one single day--into anger, sadness, joy, annoyance, hope, despair, peace. I honor him, perhaps to elevate him in revealing that his death took precedence over my "living." He was worth the tardiness to class.

What gets me, always, is the silence that follows death. It's the hollow stillness that whispers "not all is well--something's amiss." Figuring it out is just around the corner, unreachable. The game leaves you exhausted. You never wanted to play in the first place.

So I say goodbye for now, Scooby, you nut. Try not to eat all the grass in heaven and don't think your fur will fool anyone into mistaking you for the Lamb of God. You were one hell of a companion these past sixteen years.

Man, how I miss you already.