Wednesday, December 10, 2014
My loud vernacular horn
My oldest Christmas ornament is an owl in a globe from 1971. In any given moment, my house, all decorated for the holidays, can look charming or like some hellish year-round Christmas shop.
I read a greeting card today that said, Any given moment you can change your life. You just have to be there.
So far, the places where some of my friends are going for Christmas are Hawaii, Cambodia, New York City, Park City, San Francisco, Mexico and Chicago. With the possible exception of Hawaii, I don't really envy anyone travelling during the holidays. When I feel a ping of jealousy that ratchets up to resentment, I read Billy Collins' poem Consolation. That might be because we've got Sophie to contend with, and the thought of travel anywhere without her is way more difficult than travel with her. Does that make sense?
My sisters and their families are going to my parents' house in Atlanta. One of my sisters asked whether I was sad about not being able to go "home" for Christmas, and I didn't quite know how to answer that. I think the place that used to be sad is now numb. I guess I'm sad that our family can never pick up and go anywhere, to tell you the truth, and even if we were willing to suspend what remnants of sanity we have left and take Sophie on a cross-country trip, it'd be illegal to take her medicine to Georgia. And I don't wish that I lived closer to home because that would mean -- well -- Georgia. In an ideal world, Sophie would still be who she is, difficult to travel with, but everyone would come here to see us.
So, while I'm sure I'll miss a good time with the relatives, I love a Christmas in my own sometimes charming and sometimes hellish Christmas-shop home.
How much better to command the modern precinct of home
than to be dwarfed by pillar, arch and basilica.
Like Virginia Woolfe said, nothing thicker than a knife's blade separates happiness from melancholy.