Friday, January 30, 2015

Sharing the January Landscape

There are men whose sadness has lain open before me.

Inexplicably, over the years I have been lured less frequently by hearty, easy laughter and more often by the silent wonder with which some men have watched their own disappointment and loss. I pride myself that I can name it when I see it in others – the landscape their eyes follow, the story they start to tell and then stop.

I become bored by the party atmosphere when it covers over the paths by which individuals got there. I would prefer the spot before the fireplace, the sidewalk leading out into the night. Few imaginings hold me like the snow that might fall upon me and another man cleaning our cars together, our eyes catching the gestures by which we each sweep off the evidence of the hours we spent away from them.

I have driven away into the moods of a January day so many times. I have wanted the strange pleasure of the phone call, the message that comes from another corner where a man finds he regrets his winter a little less for sharing it.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

When Christmas Hits

It is not easy to predict when Christmas will hit each year.

Those of us intent on decorating a living space may expect something to strike home when we sit with our tree for the first time. Or for the last time.

Those of us who buy gifts may await some decisive shiver of satisfaction at our final taut tug on a bow or at the look on the face of the person who gets to loosen it.

Those of us who like to sing with others may know the favorite carols without guessing which verse will catch in our throat at that telling point in the season.

But we expect Christmas to hit.

That is why many of us spend time, spend money, spend creative energy in the weeks of December. We do not want to miss it – whatever precisely that something might be this year.

Some promise to ourselves will get kept.

Some vision of our lives will move into greater focus.

Some part of our heart will feel alive in a way that we had not known we needed.

What comes down faster – snowflakes in the light of the street lamp in front of my apartment this evening? Or the words with which I can begin to say thank you?

Oh, the snowflakes, the snowflakes.