Monday, January 7, 2013

The Fog and the Light

It was Christmas eve, and the fog huddled around the street lamps, as if it were having a gloomy celebration of it's own, the obligatory familial conversations ensuing.  "Aunt Hydrogen, how are you, very well, very well."

  The little SUV I was driving hurried southbound on the highway, after a hushed stop outside a neighbor's mailbox to deliver a Christmas card.  I felt a bit like a minor-league Santa, a sad and scaled down version of the great man.

  Ah, Santa.  How I had wept bitterly upon receiving information and reality, my nine-year old ears much like my current ones, never wishing to hear of change.

  And here they were, these ears, hurrying along, attached to my head, which was also hurrying along, southbound, on this Christmas eve.  Just on the other side of my head from my ears, my mind was melancholy, as most of it was not hurrying southbound.  Lost in thought, I pondered how this was my first Christmas eve away from home.  OK, I'm a drama queen, as I had spent the day with my father, and the evening with my brothers and mother.  I decided to sleep at my own place ten minutes down the road, though, so tonight, the possibility of Santa was all but extinguished, and the world seemed a little sadder and colder.  Speaking of the world, it had been seeming downright freezing lately, and my mind had been doing it's share of shivering, as it pondered the cliche and age-old question "what's the point, man?"  Children being blown to bits at schools, time marching on frightfully fast, and a buddy of mine so sick with cancer.  I had no intentions of quitting the world, mind you, but life just seemed to be a walk in freezer sometimes decorated with a masquerade of scenery.  And something that weighed on my mind as the assembly of my ears and head hurried southbound was that the magic of Christmas - the religion for some, Santa for others, and the raw materialism of youth and the joy that presents could bring seemed - far away and foggy.

  I pulled up to my driveway, and was met by the harsh glow of the security lamp which turns all things a weird bluish green in it's hum.  It wasn't very festive (although the inside of my house is.)  "Huh, what's that?" I thought, noticing something sitting on the wet concrete among the wet leaves and dead bugs from the lamp.

  It was a plastic bag over a box - a Christmas package.  It was from my buddy who's battling cancer.

I scuttled inside, lit the tree, and sat down to open such an timely arrival.  The gifts perfectly reflected the joy and laughter that I've shared with my friend, and the card was so thoughtful.  It was like a present of sunshine or candlelight, and it's arrival so magical in a very real sort of way.

  You know, there's a lot of talk about what Christmas means...And really, a larger question of what Life means, and this question often hurts.  The older I get, the darker the road becomes, and guarantees all but vanish.  How I miss Santa sometimes.

  Yet, as I snuggled in for the night, it seemed that maybe one of the meanings of Christmas is how, in such a dark and foggy world, waiting patiently all alone on the damp concrete in the glow of a "security" light (is there really any such thing?), we can send each other a little sliver of light and joy...

...And maybe that means more than anything that Santa could ever bring.

Thanks, SS.  You rock.

- Josh