Nothing profound to say today. The weekend was spent in the bosom of extended family, a betwixt-holiday road trip to deepest New Jersey, land of my birth. Uneventful, lots of familial warmth and cheer, a safe return to the homestead and waiting canine companions.
The holiday lights brighten the evenings, a coating of ice and snow on the ground, temperatures dipping into the 'teens at night. The distant war rages on, although we are pleased to know that our mail carrier has just returned from an 18-month tour of duty in Iraq. How many of those erstwhile soldiers will not return this holiday season? How many will never return? How many will return damaged psychologically, physically, and emotionally beyond our ability to understand?
We all seem to dig deeper into our pockets as the holiday season approaches, and the non-profits and human service organizations understand the goodwill and guilt which creates such end-of-year largesse (not to mention the tax benefits). Some give generously throughout the year, while others reserve their tithing for the months of November and December with an eye cast toward that April tax return. Still others are simply moved by what we call "the holiday spirit", and that spirit does indeed move many to think beyond their personal borders and concerns.
That said, winter is also a time for self-reflection and turning inward, focusing in on both the self and the home-front. How insular we become, how cozy, how sedentary, how far from the summer days of lounging in the grass on the town green, wandering the forest trails, eating at sidewalk cafes, swimming in clear water.
Winter gathers in our bones, and we await the coming of the Light, the turning of the year, the turning of the primordial clock.