In this day of bloggers posting outfit ideas and fitness rituals, health and wellness tips and tricks, travel ideas, and mom advice, is there any room left for a blog that is just here for the sake of sharing stories and photographs? Are people even reading blogs anymore? Or are we all about the Vlogs these days? My hope is that you’re still reading, still taking in the words someone took time to put on a page. My hope is that my words, combined with my photographs, will be ones that you read, that they will entertain you or challenge you or make you want your story told. Maybe you’ll get to read bits of my own story here. Maybe you’ll be inspired by the images. This daily blogging that I am challenging myself to start today and to keep up with indefinitely is my stab at making a little change in the world with the images I create and share. It’s also my way of making myself write in a public space everyday and post pictures that might have never seen the light of day. It’s my way of continuously delivering my art. That being said, this blurb is not my blog post for today. My blog post is about December.
I have two Christmas songs this year that have made it onto my holiday playlist and that I keep playing over and over. One is “River” by Sam Smith, and the other is “Christmas Lights” by Coldplay. Neither of these songs is particularly happy, but they speak to the way December makes me feel. For me, December brings stillness. Maybe, for some people, December is chaotic, but for me, December is poignant. Our AC is unplugged and with that, the apartment quiets, the weather is cold enough that I can snuggle under the comforters and quilt and still feel cozy next to my husband. The town calms down, and the air feels fresh. In December, I feel the peace of knowing another year is coming to a close, that I’ve made it another year and have yet another to look forward to. It’s a time to see family, a time to take a minute for myself. When it’s cold, I can stand quietly in the noise of my life, and I can let tears run down my cheeks, and I can know that things will turn out the way they are supposed to. I feel the weight leave my shoulders and all that sadness with it. I feel like I’m released from the stress of the past and the future, and I can be truly present.
Today I walked into my bedroom before working out. I looked out the window to see the clear Christmas lights twinkling in trees as the wind moved the leaves across them. I watched people walking together, enjoying cold air and each other’s company. I felt sadness that this year has been so trying for so many people, and I felt hope, seeing the people together. People are resilient. They need each other, and they find a way to be together. That need to be loved, to be part of a group, to have close proximity to friends and family, that’s what keeps us human and keeps us alive through the horrible bits of life. I heard my kids in the other room, Henry fussing, Sofie singing “Jingle Bells” at the top of her lungs. And you know what? In Sofie’s version of Jingle Bells, it’s not a “One Horse Open Sleigh”, it’s a “Hopeful Sleigh”. And my heart felt still and calm. A hopeful sleigh. A beautiful message from my almost-three-year-old, telling me to hope. It was a slip, a moment of her not understanding the lyrics, and yet, it was a beautiful reminder to not let the worry take us under.
“Those Christmas lights, light up the street… may all your troubles soon be gone. Those Christmas lights keep shining on” are the words lingering in my head from that minute I stood in front of the window watching the world move forward outside. Nothing is better. And everything is better. Christmas changes nothing, and it changes everything. It is, without a doubt, the time of year when I see the most variation in human behavior. When people are the nicest, the most giving and also the most selfish, rude, and ugly. This year, I hope that there will be more giving and less getting and that the world will be a little more open and a little more loving, a little more human.