It's beginning to look a lot like...um...you know...that holiday...the unmentionable one...the one kids can no longer sing about in school...
That certain day we used to celebrate with lots of red and green, but red and green are also no longer allowed in certain classroom parties...so maybe it's now taupe and gray.
That special time of year when some of us buy presents for the ones we love, except that presents are now considered to be a form of Uh-Oh, the commercialization of the holiday we can no longer mention, nor sing about, nor wear red or green while flashing our cash and credit cards around.
The time for the bell ringers to stand by the kettle and with a warm and welcoming smile...no?...oh right ...now it seems they too are rather wary and have been warned...so they sort of smile and start to say Happy...or Merry...and mumble some other syllables while standing in the freezing cold.
I thought this was a magical time for the believers and the Non...until I saw a billboard from the Non Folk...of the night sky with a star on a lovely blue background and the words...well I can't repeat the first once since it's been outlawed...so the abridged version goes something like this...
C-------s Is A Myth. Don't Believe Any Of It!
I was going to hang up my lights outdoors, but I read where some neighborhood associations are instructing their "neighbors" in a neighborly fashion that only white lights could be used and that they could only be up for the week before...that unmentionable holiday...and they must be down the day after. So I am sitting here with an enormous box of a certain two unmentionable colored lights all kinked up and knotted together and I desperately want to put them up somewhere, so I think I'll go hang them all over the shower and the tub, except that is an electrical hazard for someone who occasionally drops the blow dryer in the sink...ah yes...I'll put them in the laundry room because I know for sure I AM THE ONLY ONE WHO GOES IN THERE EVER!
I did go to the mall today to look for a whatchamacallit gift, no not a present, well I mean a little something, for someone other than myself, after I stood about ten feet from the woman by the kettle who averted her eyes so as not to have to struggle to greet me, and launched my dollar into the air. I don't know where it landed, because I averted my eyes as well and walked into some other mysterious shoppers carrying nondescript brown paper bags, averting their eyes as well.
I thought I heard a familiar carol wafting through the store. I mean it is THAT time of year for songs to be played in a loop over and over, but no, this song was familiar. La-dee-dah-dah...I'm pretty sure it was the title song from a new album by a recording star who is spending the unmentionable holiday in an unmentionable rehab center. Or maybe it was that one that needs to find a belt underneath the C-------s tree.
Oh dear. The tree business. That's a No Go too. Cutting down a tree, even at a tree farm, is an ecological offense. Buying a tree that was chopped and shipped from way up North to the local hardware store is even worse. I am pretty sure even looking at the trees in my own back yard might result in a pretty stiff fine.
So...no Dancer or Prancer and certainly not Vixen
No...I'll be home for?
No...I'm dreaming of a white?
No..."Twas the night before?
No...Jolly Old St.?
No...Have yourself a Merry little?
No...Little Drummer Boy?
No...Cookies For Santa?
I am utterly undone. At my wit's end. This is all so confusing and perhaps slightly amusing, as I have walked down this path before.
When I first started writing my Garden Pages, I made a commitment to myself, that while I was writing from my heart, the words on the pages might touch another heart. That someone might stop and read and say...So True...ah yes...So True. That my memories of family and friends, life and loss, success and failure, might stir a thought, evoke a memory, ease a loss, or rekindle a smile. The garden is home for everyone,so it was quite a surprise and a shock when a marketing guru wrote Bah Humbug and Grinched all over my work.
Red pencil slashes thru the words hope and believe and wish and dream.
Extra X X X's and NO NO NO.
I might...just might...offend...my audience.
But my audience is YOU...and YOU and I know that HERE in the garden, is the one space, an enduring place, where all that is necessary, the only requirement is that you DO...
In things we cannot see, or touch or feel.
Here in the garden is the one common denominator for every gardener, every tiller of the soil, every seasoned and reasoned soul, to come together because we...
Believe in the seasons and have faith.
Faith is not a promise, it is a hope. A wish and perhaps a dream.
Even Grinches have faith.
So did Scrooge.
We all do.
For example, every day I drive across town and I have faith that the light will turn red. Stop. Then green. Go. I live on the belief that an engineer somewhere much smarter than I concocted this system to keep us all safe from crashing into one another. To teach us to take our turn, to be patient and wait, until the light changes. Red. Green. But what if, one groggy eyed morning, after an all night vigil and months of protest, someone decided that red and green might OFFEND someone else's sensibilities. And there, in the foggy morning mist, the lights are now the Crayola colors of Fuzzy Wuzzy and Mauvelous. In the middle, what was once yellow is now Mango Tango.
Oh and the...
In it's place a new less threatening version and one most people easily recognize, a spinning orb of color, sort of like the Wheel Of Fortune...where it lands nobody knows...fingers drumming on the dash board...uhhhh...you know what happens next...one person inches into the intersection, then another and then someone skips a turn and then honking horns and oh dear oh dear there must be some sort of a pattern, but NO NO offending anyone's sensibilities...except for, oops, for the COLORBLIND.
Let's face it. We all have faith in something.
We all believe in something.
And some of us spend our entire lives desperately searching for proof that we are right.
The truth is that in this life, in this garden,
none of us will ever know for sure.
So we tell stories.
Stories of faith.
Christmas is a beautiful story. Of a family in need of shelter. Of a baby born in simple surroundings. It could happen anytime anywhere. A star in the night sky. Songs of great joy. Wanderers coming close for a peek at the child.
The word comes from the Latin meaning...
Wishes and dreams.
I cannot imagine the world without them.
I could not sit here with the ground covered in snow, the trees stripped to their branches, the squirrels tucked in their nests, the geese flying off to the south, without hope. Without the dream of Spring. So I tell myself a story, about the seeds in my hand and how one day soon, I will plant them again and they will grow and flourish. But I cannot know for sure, as the moon is full and the night is young and tomorrow may never come.
But sleep will, and in my dreams, lie hope and faith. And wonderful technicolor stories. Beautiful multicolored lights, decorated trees and packages under the tree. More importantly, in my dreams, in my story, I am standing on the the lawn with my grandchild watching for reindeer, holding loved ones close and making a wish. A tender and gentle wish for all of you...a song to sing...this time of year...whether near or far...
"I'll be home for Christmas.
You can count on me.
Please have snow and mistletoe
And presents on the tree.
Christmas Eve will find me.
Where the love light beams.
I'll be home for Christmas.
It really IS beginning to look a LOT like Christmas...
( "I'll Be Home For Christmas...lyrics and music by Kim Gannon, Walter Kent and Buck Ram)
And if you are STILL NOT SURE....