I recognized in her words the allusion to a familiar, hollow sense of things after all the paper is ripped away, dinner is eaten, and there is little left of the meticulous holiday prep that took weeks to assemble and but a few hours to descimate down to pie crumbs.
I recognized the ironic emptiness in that limbo after Christmas, and told her as much in my comment.
After our fairly secular Xmas, I often feel content with my gifts, and happy to have a few days off from work, there is also a sadness as we prepare to take down the tree, and pack it all in until next year. It seems so far away, but will be here before we know it.
Looking at the empty boxes and bags strewn about among new socks, scarves, toys, and gadgets, I also feel overwhelmed by the task of putting things back to order.
Then there is the long, cold, dark march through winter.
While there are heaps of songs about preparing for and enjoying Christmas, there are no seasonal songs, at least not to my knowledge, about what comes after Christmas for those of us highly sensitive types. If there were, they would probably be written by the Cure.
At my job we get about six holidays in the fall and winter, and then there is nothing until Memorial Day. Sure, I take a random day off here or there, but it is a pretty bleak stretch.
It is also the time when, as a social worker, I see mental health issues become the most pronounced. Kids, parents, and teachers are all sick of one another. Children are edgy from being cooped up inside and not getting enough exercise. Heating bills rise as the temperatures drop. No one wants to go outside. The bills from Christmas are coming in and no one can seem to catch a break.
Sometimes watching the depression and struggle of others causes me to fall victim to similar feelings of loneliness, helplessness, sadness.
It feels like we all get a little snow blind in the winter, lose our perspective and fumble to find the path.
While I find the first couple snows charming, and love to watch my children fromp around in the stuff, I’m not particularly into winter. I don’t ski or snow shoe or skate, so there is really no love lost between winter and me.
I’m not religious, either. I do not believe in God or Christ, as such, although I think there are many sacred miracles and wonders in the world. I wonder sometimes if I were a “believer” if there would be something more for me in the season. I know Christmas is supposed to bring the “Light of the World,” and since I was raised in the church, I know that this light brings comfort, structure and community for many.
But it just isn’t for me, and I’m just fine with that. . .
What I am getting around to saying, is that it feels like after we take down our trees and strip the house of all the lights, things can feel pretty bleak and barren.
I wonder if there are any ways to bridge the gap between the spectacle of the winter holidays and the splendor of spring?
I’m not into New Years Resolutions, but I am thinking about starting a new blog. Someone once suggested that winter is “the season of the blogger” because we are all cooped up and have extra time for reading and writing blogs. The Season of the Blogger. I loved that.
I kind of want a space to do a little more creative fiction writing, poetry, prose, etc. I also would like a forum to put up some of the weird and profound stuff I found while moving a couple months ago– pieces I wrote in college or in my early 20s when I was studying writing, my brain ablaze with imagination, sexual energy, and emotional torture. It might at least give me a portal into which I may escape during the hum and drum of another endless New England winter.
The thought of starting another blog and growing another audience is daunting, but it would give me something on which to focus and goals to set for myself. Might be fun. . .
In the mean time, I am going to try to be extra mindful of that nagging little feeling of emptiness. It is so easy for us to feel full to the brim when we are looking at our dazzling tree with all sorts of colorful gifts stacked up beneath. But it should be equally as simple, should we choose, to feel full with all our blessings, whatever they are. Being in the moment, with ourselves, with our love, with the bare trees outside our window, with air in our lungs. . .
It all should be just enough.
How about you? How do you find yourself feeling after the bustle and hustle of the holidays? How do you spend the winter? Have you ever started another blog, and if so, do you have any tips for me?