"We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are."
- Anais Nin
Thursday, December 11, 2014
Last week’s post was wistful and bittersweet, a recollection of a beautiful moment that didn’t quite deliver the happy ending it promised. Even without divorce in the mix, the holidays mark time in a way that seems to invite comparison and underscore absences. It’s been nearly four years, for example, since my father’s sudden passing, but December - his birthday month and mine - seems rife with moments that make it feel impossible still that he’s gone.
I am generally a glass-half-full kind of girl, but in these dark, short days, sometimes the cold chills soul-deep.
I’ve written before about some of the things I have found are essential to maintaining my balance: exercise, yoga, massage. I meditate to stay in touch with the peace within. I recently realized that there are some things I enjoy during the holiday season that are just as essential to my well-being as any of the things I do deliberately for that purpose.
Enjoying the return of the seals to the waters near where I live.
Walking my dog at night and appreciating the way Christmas lights seem to lessen the chill.
And then there’s the thing that I think gets me in the holiday spirit more than just about anything else: visiting a place called Clark Farms and seeing what the “elves” there have done with their greenhouses for the season.
As I recently stood in the winter wonderland that this local nursery becomes for the holidays, I realized that for as long as I have lived in South County, I have gravitated there after Thanksgiving to take in the lush sights and smells. This year, when so much in my life is different, my visit was especially comforting. Their gorgeous displays vary every year, but the smell of pine mingling with blooms, the warmth and cheer - that remains the same.
I’m not a fan of commercialism, so it might seem odd that I am so fond of any place with a cash register in the midst, but this year I recognized that this local business has, over the years, given me far more than the items I’ve purchased there.
It’s a little bit of peace on earth, and a reminder that there are better things to count at the holidays than losses and absences. Even in the dark of winter, there is life and growth and magic.