Before I go any further, in the interest of full disclosure, I don’t have a wreath on my front door yet. Unlike my neighbors, there are no lights or other decorations on the front of our house, and I’m not planning to buy and decorate a tree. (Even if I were, it wouldn’t be this soon. Real cut trees dry out too quickly and create a fire hazard, and the fake ones don’t seem worth the trouble to me.
I’m not against doing these things, I have done them in other years, especially when my children were living at home. But on this day – December 8th, which happens to be the birthday of my eldest son, I’ve just returned from the mall in my neighborhood, in anything but a holiday mood.
I wasn’t at the mall to shop. My cell phone had died and I had to get a new one. This took two trips. The first time I was there about 15 minutes, and I was sent home to wait for the service to transfer to the new phone. A couple of hours later, when I still wasn’t getting service, I made a second trip and I was in the store for another 10 minutes.
The timing is important here because, by the second trip I realized I was getting more than a little annoyed by the Christmas music that was playing and replaying loudly on a continuous loop in the store. I found it hard to concentrate on the details of the transaction I was trying to conduct. I finally asked the store clerks, “How can you stand this music all day long?” They seemed to appreciate my sympathy as they both shock their heads and agreed, it was very stressful for them. “Especially since it plays the same songs over and over again, all day long,“ the young man said.
My preferred preparation to welcome the Winter Solstice, which is just two weeks away, is more imitative of what nature seems to be doing. As the cold wind blows across the river, and the sun drops lower in the sky, I sort the gutter in my office, throwing away what is no longer needed. I search for new patterns of organization, to plan activities for the coming seasons. And inside the stillness of the shortened days, I welcome the silence and wait upon its wisdom to emerge.