Bits of holiday paper and glitter linger long after the holidays have packed themselves up (oh if only they really did that) and put themselves away in tidy boxes, hidden out of sight until we go looking for them again at the end of this new year. The ornaments that we hung on trees, by chimneys, or around windows have left an imprint, even though they are not actually there. That imprint is, of course, on our mind’s eye – that eye that sees so much more. The mind’s eye still can see the wrapped packages, the fresh green tree, the tables set for guests, the lighted deer on the lawn nodding over that big weed that grew up suddenly, untouched by the greedy lawn mower. The glow from the Hanukah candles still shimmers on the dining room wall, the vision -- the flavors -- of the Kwanzaa feast linger.
Conversations still hum in the corners of the room. The words are not decipherable. They hang like faint cobwebs, feathering the walls with tiny sparks of connection one to another. Is there a mind’s ear? There must be.
We try to pack it all away, pack it all in. It would be nice if the effort spent tidying it all away actually worked. But it is really messy business, no matter how many boxes you have, or how many trunks or closets you have available for storage.
Those bits of conversations, and those images, will pop up all through the year. Reminders.
We come together as families and friends to celebrate --- what? What is the real reason for our gathering, gifting, singing, celebrating? Is it to remember the birth of a special child, or is it to celebrate the birth of all children everywhere as royalty by their own divine right of being? Is it to remind ourselves that after long darkness there will be light, and that the light will not be swallowed up or ever extinguished? Do we celebrate the bounty of the harvest by the sharing of our meals?
Do we gift each other because then we will be gifted? Or do we gift each other because our hearts like this tangible way to say to another “I see you. I know you. I think you will like this gift. I chose it just for you, I want it to bring you happiness.”
Do we drive ourselves to follow the usual celebratory traditions – sending cards for good business reasons, attending obligatory office parties? Do we trot out all the flotsam of holidays past trying to find a place for it among all the driftwood of the present?
However we do up the holidays, once they are unwrapped, are we content?
I wish for you that the bits and pieces that float around your house in this New Year are ones that will sparkle and shine. That your mind’s eyes and ears will be glad, and take what is useful, and use the pieces you choose, without second-guessing, for this new year and all the holidays to come.
[Virginia can be reached at [email protected]]