Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Longest Night

There is a gathering storm. It’s palpable, a fear which collates in the streets, a quickening of steps, an avoidance of shadows; keep moving, look ahead, don’t make eye contact, hold close, walk briskly, do not run, do not draw attention to yourself, know your exits. It is a collective fear that is gripping the country not as we approach the solstice which passed without incident but rather as we approach the inauguration. In ancient times we used to burn fires through the longest night because we feared not what was in the dark but that the light would never return. Today, we don’t burn fires and dance by moonlight, we hide and speak in whispered tones about the loss of our liberties, about how best to fight, about what we fear lies in that darkness, that gathering storm. We lie awake at night and cry throughout the day and with each passing moment we grow weaker and weaker as the night grows longer and the darkness slithers across the land. Illness, fear and anger are contagious, they spread like disease. We have to rage against the darkness. Evil is easy, kindness and empathy take work. We have to return to the time of lighting fires, but they aren’t literal fires, they are the fires that burn within us, and as we share our love, our passion, our kindness and compassion, we burn so brightly that we cast a light in every dark recess of those too ignorant or blind to know what is coming as we draw like to like. We have to stop hiding from the shadows and gather our own storm of brightly burning soldiers to cast away the darkness. Don’t wait until the longest night to be a beacon for others. Don’t be swallowed by the darkness.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016


This Christmas season I am finally going through "the boxes", the ones which were damaged a few years ago when my father's basement flooded. For the past two years, I've opened them, smelled the damp, musty, mildew smell and put them away for another year. Tonight I started to go through them and discovered that all was not lost. There were some video tapes beyond hope but no great loss based on the titles, two table top white Christmas trees that are not so white but still quite salvageable and beautiful when lit (the lights are red so it doesn't matter that the trees are a little brown) and the transformer for a fiber optic angel I had never seen lit. To my surprise, not only did it work, but it is animated. Suddenly with a bit of grinding the wings began to beat, slowly, majestically, for the first time in my memory. I felt like an archeologist uncovering gifts left from my mother, some of her treasures which even after all these years beyond her death held secrets to be unearthed. I sat mesmerized by that angel, feeling my mother's presence so close, until she could flap her wings no more. I turned her off, let her cool down and when next I turned her on again, she began her seraphim dance once more. Like so many things we treasure, like the memories we hold dear, we will have to enjoy our angel sparingly so as to preserve her for what I hope to be years. We cannot hold too tight or she may yet go silent. My father watching me just smiled and said, “So like your mother.” And now I feel as though I have made whole something that was lost. Her angel. My heart.