December and not a whiff of the season’s chill.
If there is any resemblance to the image of the holidays seared in memory and glorified in the media it must be the songs. But the carols do not echo as loudly as before. Children seem to be busy with something else. Technology? Perhaps. Modernity? It makes even more sense. The streets no longer ricochet with the innocence of young boys and girls taking advantage of the assumed period of generosity. Maybe they’ve found out the Grinch is realer than Santa Claus. Cynicism was once a rebellion; these days it’s the norm. A quiet pragmatism has replaced the hopeful relief of a year that has gone by. Even the Christmas lights – the twinkling, the glow, the frantic shift from red to green to white – have dwindled to a few corners of the neighborhood; humbler, simpler: man-made spectacles piercing the evening in their frivolous turned muted flickers; whispers from old exclamations.
The air too is warm like summer. And while the nights are longer, they are windless: the expected darkness without any swift descent of the chilly breeze we’ve been accustomed to. And where once the year’s end brought a cool which compelled men and women to warm themselves in the company of another, now the faces are skeptical of others, of the times, of love; and even those who are blessed with the friction of their lover’s skin are prone to clichés.
I’d like to think people are spending more time thinking. I’d like to think we’re wiser. But maybe we’re just exhausted too. The traffic must have gotten the best of us. The people must have infuriated us for much of the year. Even our own families are getting on our last nerves. We’ve been busy for the most part of the year, why be busier now when we can just rest, sleep, cover our eyes, recover. Maybe the Christmas songs can no longer penetrate the only thing left that is cold: our hearts. How do you melt the stone? How do you tell people to believe again in the magic when our own children have lost their capacity to imagine? How do you restore faith on the unseen if even the unseen have lost faith in us?