The End of a Mid-Winter Night’s Dream

The holidays are a whirlwind.  I can’t decide if I forget who I really am, or find who I really am during that period of time.  It’s a foggy place.  In one sense, I never feel more like myself from that slumber from the real world that occurs every December.  I get to just be Lorna Caye, around only my closest friends and family.  I go back to the basics, and just become the girl I was growing up.  I get to live in some sort of yester-year.

On the other hand, I feel like I lose something over the holidays.  Things around me vanish, and though I get a break from the grind, I don’t feel quite normal.  It’s almost like going into another place, like Shakespeare takes his characters in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, where everything is dancing in a twilight zone.  Is it the past, the present?  The holidays are a little bit surreal, by making me think of people I never think about, or by going to places I never go.  It brings the dead back to life, and rehashes fires burned out long ago.  However, this fantasy world we fall into, decorated in tinsel, and smelling of cinnamon and sausage balls, might be our parallel universe where we can get some peace for a moment.  A strange, mostly happy peace.

We can’t stay there, though.  In the long run, I don’t think we’d even want to.  It’s the place that is so comfortable we don’t hunger, and here on Earth, while we still wear skin for dress, hunger is something we like.  Eleven months out of the year we like to search and scramble for the things that make us who we cannot help but be.  This month that occurs, that is the most wonderful time of the year, leaves behind a bit of flailing.  What was that world we were a part of prior to Thanksgiving?

I think I returned to Lornaland, meaning the one I dance in from January to November sometime yesterday morning.  I suddenly shook the snow out of my eyelashes, and stood up out of my makeshift bed of holly.  My mind went to my blog again, thinking of all the things I needed to share with the world.  I was grumbling again from somewhere inside.  Over the holidays, I hate to admit, the writer in me shut up.  It packed up it’s fountain pen and watched me from afar while I went to the land of colored ribbon, and candy canes.

I started feeling myself come back yesterday morning when I heard the song, “Wicked Games,” by Chris Isaaks.  That song always makes me breathe in phantom coconut oil, and transports me to a beach where people dance half-naked in the nearby crowded streets.  I start sweating immediately, and go Scarlet O’Hara dramatic.  I throw myself on my couch, searching the t.v. for something that can bring me closer to my fantasy.  I start praying to God the movie Cocktail is on somewhere.

The writer re-enters with a raised eyebrow, “there you are, you desperate thing…desperate for the perfect atmosphere, the perfect story.” .

“Don’t patronize me,”  I reply, pretending to sip a rum-runner that’s actually a bottled water with orange Mio added in.

“I have some new stuff for you about that Jenna Lee Ravenel character you thought up a month ago.  You’re gonna love it.  She’s more sultry than ever,”  the writer teases.

“Ok, let’s rock n’ roll,”  I reply, “I’m back.”

As Shakespeare says in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, “though she be but little, she is fierce”.  With a pen, that I am.

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“If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumbered here
While these visions did appear.”

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The Unbreakable

     This one was a strange Christmas…it came and went more quickly than the others.  People often say age is to blame for the sudden acceleration of time, which is probably true, but not the reason this time.  This year there was a sort of climate shift going on around me.  For once my life wasn’t changing…my husband and I weren’t in the process of moving or changing jobs, or fighting our way out of some sort of chaos like years past.  It was just everyone around us.  There’s been divorce, sickness, death…all the biggies.  There were new faces appearing, and old faces missing everywhere I turned.  I found parts of my traditions scrambled around and torn apart, as if some sinister holiday tornado came through to tease me, leaving just enough reminisces of yesteryear to torture me.  I found myself sifting through the debris as quickly as I could, praying for December 26th to come. I should have focused more on the reason for the season, and the true meaning of Christmas instead of fleeing the day in search of my past, but I didn’t.  Hine sight’s 20/20 as always. 

     However, if I hadn’t been sulking at the end of the night I would have missed out on having my husband comfort me, which is one of the sweetest feelings in the world.  I unplugged the Christmas tree and curled up next to him on the couch.  He put his arms around me and told me it is enough that I’m his…and that got me thinking.  Time will march on…viciously and unmercifully march on, and it will take many traditions with it.  Things will happen.  There will be surroundings I can’t control.  It’s inevitable…and I won’t be able to turn back time or force those around me to change.  That’s why my husband and my God will remain my tradition. I will always belong to them, and it’s enough. I will do my best not to ever resent Christmas again the way I did yesterday…that wasn’t what Jesus wanted for his birthday from me, but that was the gift I brought.  I let the outside forces harden my heart a little yesterday, and today I’m choosing to let it go.

     One other thing sticks out in my mind from yesterday.  In the madness, besides my husband, one other constant remained.  My father got me a beautiful antique book of 19th century British poetry from an estate sale, and a charming pen box with an Ernest Hemingway quote on it.  It read, “The writer must write what he has to say, not speak it.”  This gift in particular made me feel so good, because my father saw me in this quote…he sees me as a writer.  My mind reeled other gifts I’ve gotten through the years from people: an early publication of Lorna Doone, an orginal print book of Robert Frost poems, various kinds of journals and notebooks….I’ve always been a writer…I was born with a pen in my heart before I could hold one in my hand…a gift I thank God for giving me.  There’s a tradition no one can take.  So, I am going to keep writing my way through everything.  I will keep a pen in one hand, and my husband’s hand in the other, while I let Jesus keep his hand on me.  Those are the things that stick, and the traditions that don’t break are the only one’s that matter in the end.  There are some things too strong for this world to tear apart or take away, and I know exactly what they are  now.  Maybe I had a Christmas miracle…realizing what’s unbreakable in my life, and knowing which traditions will stand the test of time.  As long as I keep writing and keep loving I will be okay.  Madness may brush me again, but if I return to those things, they will carry me home every single time.  These things aren’t the reminiscences left to tease me afterall; they were the one’s that stayed behind to claim me…the unbreakable.