We didn’t buy gifts this year. It was a notable departure from the kind of excess that has made me uncomfortable in these advancing years. We gave a big check to the local food bank instead.
There will be no visit with Dorothy. We won’t hit the drive-thru at Starbucks for pre-breakfast indulgence for the group. We won’t unwrap bags full of gifts that we’ll likely never use.
There will be no breakfast casseroles. No Pillsbury cinnamon rolls. No Mom’s cookies. I won’t hear the jangle of Mom wearing HER Mom’s bangle charm bracelet.
There will be no games of pool downstairs. No classic photos of grown-ass adults in jammies. The fruit soup will go unmade.
There will be no community puzzles. No Bananagrams. No football pools. We won’t watch our, now adult, niece and nephew open gifts. We won’t marvel at Christmas decorations and we won’t raise a toast, skål, to another great day of family tradition.
There will be no hugs.
We’ll do a Zoom meeting in the afternoon. Half of our family will still be getting together. Covid has drawn lines between us. Some of us refusing to gather, the others refusing to stay apart.
My walk this morning was illuminating. In just two snaps it all became clear to me.
As the two resident bald eagles sent out their piercing call into the cold thin air, the sun pushed it’s opinion on the day. The fog was dense, but beginning to lift. It was a bit like those fancy blinds that roll up or down. The fog was rolling down. Briefly clearing sky, a peek through the trees …
Two snaps. Two different filters.
That’s when it became clear. We are living in the exact same moment. All of us. What’s different is the filter. Day to some, night to others. Soft orange light, or a cool blue glow.
The technology of our emotional center has failed us. And so I know what I wish for this Christmas: Give me a deep sleep and polaroid dreams. Give my life back to me in black and white. No filter needed.
Let the color drain from how we see.
Bring back the colorless world of grayscale, where we all see the same thing. At the same time.
An ordinary miracle. Without spin.
May the coming year help us to see better. To see one another again. See what matters and what must fall away. We have home and we have each other and we have a means of connecting, so all is not lost.
But I never want to have another Christmas like this one.
Here were my ordinary miracles of the day.