tomorrow

31 December 2009

When the year starts to gather her things and puts on her coat and scarf, readying herself to leave us, most of us can’t help but get introspective. 

I’ve been enjoying reading my favourite bloggers’ thoughts about this year and other years and my facebook page is covered with wishes and blessings from family and friends around the globe.  Some look ahead; some look behind.  Some of us make resolutions; some of us eschew them.  Some of us look upon the old year with pleasure and fondness; others are snapping at her: “don’t slam the door on your way out!” 

Whatever we do, I can say with all certainty – this time is not for regrets.  Send them packing with the old year.  Write them down and ceremoniously burn them.   Close your eyes and watch them fly off in a red balloon. 

Now is the time to open up to dreams.  And the only way to approach any dream is to start walking toward it, one step at a time. 

I’m looking forward to walking with you in 2010. 

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more,
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.
Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.
Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out thy mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.
Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.
Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.
Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

~Alfred, Lord Tennyson  

peace

25 December 2009

Last night I was sitting at home, ready for Christmas, waiting for Carly to collect me and my bags of food and parcels.  I was to spend Christmas Eve, my favourite Christmas “moment,” with my girls and Ryan eating artichoke risotto and sipping wine and watching a favourite movie. 

It’s my favourite night because there is, every year, unfailingly, a sense of peace that comes over me.  I think it’s partly to do with the winter solstice, and partly to do with a collective dreaming and hope. 

So I’m sitting there listening to songs on my computer on random playback and Bruce Springsteen comes on singing We Shall Overcome in The Seeger Sessions.  I think it fits the moment.

Merry Christmas to you and yours.  May you experience peace and hope today.

a goldmine of… spirit

23 December 2009

Today I’m back on the shuttle for one more time to the mall near my office for my Christmas “wine run.” I figure the LCBO will be MUCH more tolerable at lunchtime today than it will be tonight or on Christmas Eve when the line-ups at the cash registers trail to the back of the store.

When I get on the bus, the same “Christmas spirit” people who I eavesdropped on yesterday are talking again, and the woman is saying that she’s back to the mall to buy her own Christmas present because it makes her husband “too stressed out” to buy her one himself.

Maybe, as she said yesterday, she should just wait and buy herself a sweater she doesn’t want after Christmas at the end of the Boxing Day sales because it would be simpler for her and she’d get a better deal on it.

Okay, I’m being a little snarky.  But read on.

Then one of her shopping pals says she wants to buy the DVD version of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ and that it was on sale somewhere.

“Is that a Christmas movie?” asks the fella.

“Oh you must mean “Wonderful World” says our gal.

(Huh?)

“No, I think it’s called ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’” says her friend.

“There is no such movie called ‘It’s a Wonderful Life!’” says our champion of Christmas spirit. “Is there?” to me when I turn around in my seat, unable to contain my annoyance at her saying one of my very favourite movies doesn’t exist. (Snarkiness justified – right? Right?)

“It’s a Disney movie, isn’t it?” (Oh man, don’t get me started.  See?  SEE?)

“No. ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ is its name. It’s not a Disney movie. It is a great old holiday favourite from the 1940s starring Jimmy Stewart, and…” (to the friend) “…I hope you buy it. You’ll love it. It’s a story that reminds us about the meaning of Christmas spirit.”

Overheard on the complimentary shuttle from my office building to a mall at lunch today – two people discussing their desire to sustain the joy of the Christmas spirit and keep things simple:

Him:  “Yeah, like that Boxing Day shopping craziness – I don’t do that.”

Her:  “Really.  What people don’t realise is you get the sales all week – it’s Boxing Week!  You can avoid the crowds and shop a few days later.  You might not get the sweater you want, but you’ll get a good deal.”

Er… is that called good Capitalist Christmas spirit?

yorkshire sister

20 December 2009

I’m not a fan of greeting cards.  I think they’re a giant rip off, and usually I’d rather say what I want in a phone call or a gift or a visit. 

Nevertheless, sometimes they’re just the thing, like when your sister lives on a different continent and thinking that her receiving mail from family at home is a priority.  Like during the holidays. 

So there I am standing in the Hallmark section of a store a week or two ago looking for a Christmas card for Jane and I’m blubbering like an idiot amidst all the sugary sentiment and dreamy winter scenes.

A sister is a part of you – she is connected to all things and more than DNA.  A sister is always there in the way you see, the things you feel and how you feel about yourself.  And that magic doesn’t diminish when she moves across oceans. 

But it doesn’t make you miss her any less when she’s far away.  And I was missing Jane a lot standing in that Hallmark aisle at lunchtime.   

Yesterday was her birthday and I was thinking about her place in my life – from that stubborn and independent little pig-tailed girl, to the beautiful and content transplanted Canadian Yorkshirewoman she’s become. 

I love you sister.  No less than if you lived around the corner.  Thank goodness for technology.

(And many more and shut the door on ricky hubble…)

I usually find that having to hear someone’s private cell phone conversation in public is a minor annoyance. Sometimes a major one. But yesterday morning, not long before I reach my final stop, I hear the most wonderful storytellingest, sing-songiest poetic voice with a Caribbean or West Indian inflection, talking slowly and deliberately, with rising and falling pitch and pauses added for impact – I really want to stay on the bus and listen to the rest of the story.

“So I tried and tried to find it for her,” said the rich womanly voice, “but I searched and searched and searched and searched and it seemed to be nowhere at all – nowhere at all in this big, big city.

“So I tried and tried to ring her to tell her the unfortunate news, and the line was ringing and ringing and ringing and ringing and ringing and there was never, never an answer.

“And I thought that she had given me another number so I searched and I searched and searched and I found it in the bottom of my bag, so I rang that number and it rang and rang and rang and rang and then, she answered!

“Oh and we had the loveliest chat and we discussed another idea.  A great idea.  And so today I am off again in the city, and I’ll search…”

And as I get off the bus I think how nice it must be to turn every conversation into something that sounds like a folktale, to reflect one’s world as though painting a picture every minute.

Overheard on the bus today:

Kid One:  “What’s with you and Shauna yo?”

Kid Two: “Yo Nothin.  What you mean?”

Kid One: “Yo she changed her relationship status to single on facebook.”

Kid Two: “Uh… yeah… Whatev, yo man I ain’t talked to her much.”

As Kid Two carries on some awkward conversation trying to cover his I Was So Just Dumped shock, I wonder just how many social conventions this whole social media thing has changed amongst barely-teens and the rest of us.

But then again, I think as the kids disembark, maybe this situation wasn’t that much different 30 or 40 years ago.  Back then you’d just get another kid to tell yesterday’s “boyfriend” that you were through.  Today it’s pretty much the same thing only you get 462 other kids to tell him instead.