Monday, November 19, 2012

I had a telephone conversation yesterday with a friend who likes the gloom, cold and snow of winter. She was lamenting the fact that the days have been so warm of late. “We’re not getting our fair share of winter,” she lamented. “We’ll only have a few months of it if we get even that much.”

I, on the other hand, am quite happy with sunshine. I wouldn’t mind if sunny days persisted from now until the official arrival of spring and thereafter as well. My friend took exception to that thought. “How would you like it,” she asked, “if there were nothing but sunshine every day of the year, year after year, forever? Wouldn’t that get monotonous and boring?” I commented that that was an unfair analogy and was very unlikely to happen but then we discussed the matter and finally came to a decision upon which we agreed. The normal changes in weather, we decided, are not only bearable but actually welcome and it is up to us to accept and take pleasure in them as they come and when they come. In each change there is something that can be liked and finding those things will make our lives more rewarding in all seasons.

Which brings me to the season, which, at the present time, is concerned with Thanksgiving. All too often we, and I include myself, take the holiday season as a time to dread. I have heard it described as such by others. We acknowledge that we are supposed to enjoy it and do our best to accomplish that, but deep within, we don’t. We endure endless commercialism, hectic shopping, disagreements as to who is to have family holiday dinners with whom and where and when, and on and on. To top it all off, we find ourselves feeling guilty because we don’t enjoy the season as we’re supposed to. In the past, the joyous season of the holidays seemed to me to be the antithesis of what it is purported to be. In some prior years, I solved this unpleasantness by escaping it—going away to a secluded location where no one could reach me to spend a quiet, relaxing, enjoyable time. Some of my best and most productive writing occurred on such occasions.

This year it’s different. This year I am looking forward to the holiday season. I am getting into the “Christmas spirit.” I’ve felt that mood coming over me for a while. Perhaps it began when I decided, a month or so ago, to take a trip to my son’s place for Thanksgiving. Perhaps it was earlier, the day when I cleaned up the shed and rearranged the boxes of Christmas tree decorations. I felt the urge to pay more attention to them this year and thought of the pleasure I could have adding to them and decorating the house for the holidays. I made plans for accomplishing that.

Why this new attitude toward the holidays happened I’m not sure. At any rate, I think my conversation with my friend yesterday describes it very well. In each season there are some things—probably a great many things—that can be enjoyed. Those things are there to be found as a reward simply for the effort of expecting them, looking for them and recognizing them when we see them. These things are more apparent in the holiday season. They are spotlighted and accentuated. Finding them can be more readily done at this time and doing so can form a pattern for finding the joy that lies in less conspicuous seasons. In that way, I can look upon the holiday season as being valuable and welcome and not something to escape. Perhaps—just perhaps—it’s a way of adding a new dimension to life and finding a way of making that life more rewarding and enjoyable in all seasons.

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