Maybe it is good that it is the shortest day of the year…

xmasshows2I am a big fan of the solstice. Actually, of most things astronomical, astrological, and generally sparkly, not to mention the inherent symmetry of the solstices, it is sort of a magical time. Having said that, this year I am sort of glad to know that this day will be very short, very cold, possibly rainy, and that I will be so painfully busy I won’t have time to take in too much. Because I have to say, right about now, I feel pretty full up.

I can’t think of a better way to articulate it than to say that: Full.Up.

It could be me, I don’t know, but maybe it is not just me. Maybe all this stupid fucking ridiculous misinterpreted, misinformed, ignorant, end of the world crap that people are swilling like bad beer at a frat party is really about a huge collective sadness.

Here is a sampling of things that have made me sad:

  • Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree… I always cried when I watched that Christmas special – always about that tree. I can still recall the sadness just from the image (not mine) above. But you know what is sadder than that? You can now buy a replica of Chuck’s sad little tree at Walgreen’s. The one thing that little tree had was it’s identity and now even that is for sale for anywhere between US$10.48 and 31.89.
  • This excerpt from journalist Jeff Stoecker, of NBC Connecticut, assigned to cover Dawn Hochsprung’s memorial:

    We were standing in front of the funeral home and groups of people, dressed in black, showed up. Then more came. And more. And more. By my count, it was close to nearly 250-300 people not going into the funeral home, but walking right past it… on their way to the legally designated 300 feet away where protesters would have to stay from the site of the calling hours (CT law). They were a human shield for the family and mourners. They would make sure that those hurting would never have to see the hurtful signs, hear the hurtful words from these people who aren’t from here and, sometimes it seems, aren’t capable of humanity. I met two guys from Upstate New York. They were burly guys. When I asked one of them – his name is Dave – why they came, he was overwhelmed with emotion. He told me this was his way of paying his respects to Dawn Hochsprung. He didn’t know her, but he knew what she stood for and why we all lost something special when we lost her, lost six dedicated and loving educators, and 20 beautiful smiling children with lives to be lived and dreams to be fulfilled. He even brought wood, a staple gun, and sheets (in one of the school’s colors – green. Yeah – he thought that through too) to use as shields to hide the protesters’ “God Hates _____” signs. He had a can of spray paint ready to paint “God loves Dawn” and “God Loves Sandy Hook” on those sheets to counter the hateful with the truth. He was joined by teens that didn’t look old enough to drive, men and women who looked like accountants, and those who rode their noisy Harleys thought the center of town. Never has the rumble of motorcycles felt more reassuring than today. The protesters didn’t show. It didn’t matter. If they had, few of us would have known about it. There were a few hundred people making sure of that.

  • Watching the temperatures fall in the City and seeing so many people without a place to stay as I hurried into Bart at Civic Center yesterday. With their pets, their collected belongings, their unique personas. And so many of them, near the holiday season with no home to hurry to. Gone was the urgency I am so often faced with as requests for help are called out – now it seems a more humble, perhaps just sad, entreaty.
  • This photo.
  • Finding out that someone I used to work with and inspired no end of drama has in a month’s time been moved to a terminal cancer ward and unexpectedly lost his first-born son halfway around the world.
  • Realizing that since I have come home, I have lost some one in each year.
  • Seeing the most heartbreaking photo of a friend as she bid a sudden farewell far too soon to a very special cow kitty.
  • This song. Completely serious. And I made you look.

This is just in the last few days. And clearly circumvents some of the most obvious sadnesses.

So maybe it is good that this day shall be short and bring on the longer days in the next bit. I have on e more day of work that promises to be hectic – not necessarily in the delightful way – and then I will travel to be with some very special people in my life. I will try to remember that it is okay to be sad (or maybe even be the crazy crying lady on Bart who people move away from…) and in spite of the sadness there are other things to remember:

  • An email like this that arrived out of the blue:

    just wanted to stop by and thank you for making that home stretch of high school bearable. Without you and Matt, who knows where I would have ended up. Not gonna get too sappy here but you guys did change my life and I appreciate you both for that. I hope all is well with you.

  • Sweetly awkward visits from last year’s students as they flock home with tales to tell of their first collegiate semesters.
  • A cheerful holiday toast with a compadre who can really feel the pain of trying to make it to break rather than just break.
  • Furry, bossy, incorrigible pets.
  • Christmas cards from forever friends.
  • Finding the perfect gift.

I suppose it is true that you cannot have happiness without some element of sadness, if for no other reason than comparative value. Maybe being sad isn’t so bad. I am interested to see how people behave surrounding their long-awaited apocalypse, which has, at this point, moved through two time zones in the US with nary a peep. I just hope it will be funny and not plain sad.

Happy Merry Everything. Be kind. See you on the other side.

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