grumpy good will
Although Christmas isn’t celebrated in every country, I imagine half the readers of this blog will be bloated with rich and sweet food and will be saying, as they did last year, “Never again!” We walked amongst such people yesterday, the first sunny day for over a week, and encouraging my wife from bed where she’s lain since the 12th, we strolled along, enjoying the wash from a calm sea splash froth upon the sands.
Even if you are agnostic, wherever you are in the world your history has been influenced by centuries of culture and for weeks most Europeans, even atheists, look towards Christmas. For millennia, it has been a time when winter’s bite is yet to come. These Mid Winter festivities are a social regrouping, a warming of the collective heart preparing us to face the elements together as we realise we need others to help us survive, for together we are stronger. That’s why it's the period of good will.
The long beach was crowded, they walked in family groups. Dogs raced up to each other, sniffed and darted back to their owners, other pelted after sticks and their delighted owners tossed these in any direction where there weren’t people. Children screamed, tore off their shoes, ran into the shallow waves, pelted back screaming louder, but turned and repeated the action until they got used to the biting cold.
It was after all plus 3 and a breeze turned that below 0, but kids are able to forget this. Two sweet young girls ran into the water and stood in up to their knees in awe, burst out laughing, sped back to their laughing parents. Earlier, I had come across them upon emerging from the Men’s, where I’d heard their father firmly say, “Stay there, this is man-land!”
They had ventured a little way in, peeped inside this forbidden territory and were jumping up and down, squealing with utter delight. As I walked past they threw me huge happy smiles. Even had they been brave, they’d not have seen anything but us men stood with our backs to the door. But at that age, perhaps five or six, even this is amusing.
Uncommonly, as we walked, my wife and I felt remarkably lean. Our own carefully prepared Christmas Eve and Christmas Day meals had both spoiled. Knowing my wife was unable to get out of bed, at 3.30pm I’d left voice messages and text cancelling attending a Christmas Eve Carol service followed by tea and cake with friends. Come 6.45pm, I started to prepare the first special meal with ingredients which would not keep. The phone rang.
My wife, propped up sipping tea, answered. Seeing her in tears, I discovered she’d been badly scolded for not attending, for destroying anothers’ dream. Inevitably, for she’s a caring woman, she fell for the emotional blackmail, insisted we pack the food away, go out. It was lovely company, but there hardly any nibbles. Hungry, having purposefully eaten little since a skimpy breakfast, we drove home, arriving at 8.30pm, far too late and tired to prepare a meal. We ate crisps and cheese and went to bed exhausted (I’m unwell too). As you might expect, this set us back and Christmas Day was a no no....
And so, days later, wanting to catch something of the festive spirit, we went to enjoy the bright sunshine splashing the beach. And we were all there because of the Christmas holidays. Christianity, which settled on top of ancient Druid and shamanistic practices, is today not such a bad religion because it is evolving. Any outlook on life, be it a philosophy, moral stance or religion which doesn’t evolve has it’s head in the murky sands of history and will gradually die out.
Predictably, that beach walk, though very short, wore us out. I write in the same ill-weary state my wife is in. Yet I’m not upset, such is life. Why hang on to negatives? Doing so simply wears away good humour. And, let’s face it, there are more serious things to be concerned about. It is how we see things which defines us, not always what happens. As I write, we aren’t sure we’ll be up to New Year either. Being half Scottish, that’s a dreadful sin! But such is life. You understand, you adapt, and if need be, forgive... because you value relationships more than what has gone wrong in them.
Most of us do, hence society continues. Those who can’t let go of their irritations wallow in negativity. Without this very normal human ability to be positive, to forgive, things would fall apart. That’s what’s so special about this strange Mid-Winter week when you can’t recall what day of the week it is. Happy Mid Winter! (Even to my many readers enjoying summer in the Southern Hemisphere)