I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
— William Wordsworth
How alone do you feel on the island you live? How often do you try to escape? How many moments do you miss preoccupied with thoughts of being… somewhere other than? That is, after all, what we’re taught to strive for, is it not? We journey through oceans and desert sands, sometimes while weeping, still others all smiles, and at the end of it all we will arrive. Heaven? Is that where we’re going? I like to think we’re already there, just unable to accept the forms it has taken. We have adjusted our expectations of Valhalla to such a degree, we could be wandering through its halls looking for a way out and never notice the paintings on the walls.
Today is Christmas Day. We are nearing the end of an incredibly difficult year, and reflection upon it has been a challenge. So many of us have been in survival mode for so many months, here we are with a little room to breathe, and we’re left wondering what the hell just happened. What does it mean? Where are we headed? When are we allowed to rest? Who will we turn to if the person traveling with us doesn’t make it? It’s quite terrifying, but it dawned on me today that it’s always a little bit like this at the end of the year. Specifically the end of Christmas Day.
There is an unmistakable disappointment in the air. Just a mist, really. Not a thick fog, and nothing much worth going on about at the dinner table. If you’re lucky enough to be with your family, there’s a point where you’re all just existing in the same room, experiencing something that is both old and brand new… the end of a year and the start of another. It’s a bit of a no man’s land. A limbo. I’m not quite sure what else to call it. The year that was is breathing its last cold breaths, and we’re all just sleepwalking through time, with absolutely no idea what’s coming next.
I don’t mention this with the intention to express indignation. This time of year is certainly not without its pleasures, particularly time spent with loved ones, which is how my family and I spent the final hours of the evening. We expressed a lot of feelings throughout the day – some a bit melancholy, others joyous and grateful, all of them full of purpose and intention – and there didn’t seem to be a single moment any of us wished we were anywhere else but right where we were.
It’s a bit of a shame that the Christmas Spirit doesn’t more often seep into our daily lives, and an even bigger shame that so many of us feel it actively leaving the closer December 25th gets to December 26th. Because the truth is, those dates… don’t mean anything. Time does not exist for the human spirit. The soul. The parts of us that remain content with our partners and our children in perpetuity. Time does not exist for souls connected on a level that intense, and we all know this. So, why are so many of us trying so hard to run away?
Everybody I love was a part of my life today. Yes, even those who have left this earth. Their absence, in fact, only added to the life in the room. Perhaps that bit of sadness we feel at the end of Christmas Day is the thought that tomorrow will somehow be totally different. That we will all be less aware of the beauty in our lives, after feeling so close to Heaven, and therefore continue wanting to be elsewhere. Well, I’ve decided to be done with that sort of nonsense. If Heaven is anywhere other than with my family, and on a daily basis, then I’ll be content sleepwalking through the rest of my days.