I stand amazed at the frantic buying of Christmas; the laundry lists of recipients; the piles of stuff stacked precariously on multiple carts. Black Friday chaos, the pressing of bodies and tugs of war captured for 15 minutes of fame on Youtube. Millions of animals frozen and wrapped like presents in shiny plastic skin so that we may celebrate in feast. Tons of plastic goods manufactured, shipped across the Pacific and through the veins of this country, to be presented on pallets, purchased and used minimally before finding their way to a landfill or fading in the backyard sun. Plastic bags wafting on the thermals like raptors, clinging haphazardly to the skeletons of sleeping trees or disguising themselves as a delicacy for some innocent sea creatures.
I managed a small, independent bookstore, and I know the monetary value of the season. The little guy, providing a service to the community, paying the bills and keeping people employed. No one’s getting rich, save for the experience. The joy of a customer finding that perfect something for that special someone. So simple and pure. The gift of fantasy, intrigue or knowledge, through words on paper, tactile, to be held like a lover on a cold winter’s night.
Kindness and giving are dictated this time of year but I challenge that we practice this year ’round, without obligation. That we gift when we want, uncommitted and without expectation. That we simplify, share space with those we love, and always sense the joy and wonder of the season, no matter the date.
So on Christmas, as with every other day, my dogs will wake me at the hint of dawn, cold wet noses in my face. Tails wag, butts wiggle. A pure infectious joy that makes my heart want to burst. Later, Dave and I will walk with them in nature. We’ll laugh as they run across honey colored sleeping grasses, marvel at the sun gleaming on icy water, feel blessed at the sight of a Great Blue Heron or flocks of local Canadian geese. Though the land and her creatures lie in quiet contemplation, I’ll know that the sun is now creeping northward, the days are expanding, and soon the sleeping earth will reawaken.
Today I will also connect with my human tribe, ever thankful for their presence in my life, for creating me, supporting me, challenging me, and being co-travelers on this great journey. Great love and powerful bonds come from blood-born family, but equally from that family created from the closest of friends.
In my yard, the squirrels and wild birds will entertain and delight me, bathe in warmed waters, hang and swirl on contraptions filled with human offerings, because life is richer when shared. And maybe a Sharp-shinned or Red-tailed Hawk will present me with the beauty and cruelty of nature.
I’ve not decorated for the season, but the interior of my home is adorned with the colors of the rainforest; beings to which I’ve dedicated my life, trying to give back what they’ve lost and atone for previous human cruelties. In return, they bless me with their presence; living jewels that remind me every day to show true colors and speak the truth as loudly as possible.
This is a Mixa Christmas, today and every day of the year.