The Autumn leaves dance like individual torches flickering in the wind. Extinguished only by the increasingly cool rain and frosted mornings. The sky has lost its saturation, left with mounds of varying greys and whites, broken ever so often with a sliver of light and stroke of blue.
In the late months of November and December, on the cusp of chilled breaths and drifting crystals, we find ourselves departing our haunting and ghoulish ways as we cross over to the world of joy and giving, of family and friends, of unity and peace. A time for some to act upon their faith, and a time for the nomad to find their way. You may define it as the holiday season, the Christmas spirit, or something else entirely, but one thing remains the same, the value of these next two months should not be underestimated after the expense of the last two years.
Time is relevant only to those who created it and those who obey it. Yet, fighting it is ostracizing oneself, and therefore we are all prisoners of our chronological way within the universe. Consequently, as one of those who obey the construct of time in modern society, I too fall into the annual pattern of ending my year surrounded by the warmth and glory of the holiday season.
Why doesn’t this feeling of fireside storytelling, sugary cheer, and pine-induced euphoria transcend into the other ten months of the year? What construct has boxed in these uplifting seasonal qualities outside of the titles we give days and months? Small clippings of the fabric of time that we decorate with joy and elation are to be worn as our entire personality until the new year begins. Until the mask removes itself once again, and everything we felt is swept away. Vanishing like the red glow of taillights in a winter storm, our last glimpse of contact and connection becomes yet another memory. Another moment of nostalgia.
However, it is not too late to break the chains we have shackled ourselves in and allow fragments of what we feel during this time to disperse into the days of blooming and growing, sunshine, and ocean breeze. For two years traditions were impeded or halted. Loved ones were lost without a final Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, or Christmas in the company of those they cherish most. If all the world’s a stage as Shakespeare claims, and we are simply playing the many parts that make up our lives, then it is safe to say that thousands never were able to give their final bow.
We the audience, remain seated, awaiting a mortal curtain to part once again, yet it remains closed still. We are left wondering what the final act would have brought for them, and for us. Left only with the memories of roles they played.
But the show must go on. The lights that dim upon one stage now shine on another, brighter than the lights that flicker from our homes during these festive times. What was once a darkened audience for one is now illuminated for many, as we discover that we are not just a viewer but also the viewed. The observer and the performer. A true duality, that in these frigid final months of the year allow us to put on a performance with our homes brimming, not a seat to be found.
Yet in the blink of an eye, the fictitious divide that separates one year from the next will cut us off from all we embraced over these precious months, so that we can, as we call it, return to normalcy.
Our challenge, our objective, for those that never got another act, is to carry on the figurative hug of the holidays into the remainder of our lives. Let us not isolate the well wishes and family gatherings to just a few days to cap off the year. Let us return to traditions, create new customs, and extend our arms outward toward those who may need guidance, a helping hand, or the knowledge that they are not alone.
We all were bruised and broken during one of the most trying times in modern history, but we survived. There is no cure for what is experienced during tragedy; however, we can prevent the wounds from recurring. Just as time does not have to dictate how fast we mend, time also does not determine what portion of the year we deem family, friends, and loved ones valuable.
With us or lost, the memories we have are a preservation of moments we shall value more than any clock hanging on a wall or gift underneath a tree. We are to carry the torch that others lit for us, to provide us light, warmth, and safety. To remind us, that life lived truly is priceless to those whom you lived it with.