wishing you calm and brightness
One Christmas eve we went to my mother’s friends house.
It was snowing. We walked as a family.
My mom and dad walked. My sister and I had it good. We were pulled along in sleds.
Snow was falling quietly.
Our travels left lines and footprints in the snow.
Everything was glowing orange from streetlights, then red and green from all of the houses lit up with hundreds of tiny bulbs.
We were the only people out. There was nothing else in the world but that moment of falling snow and squeaking boots.
We were traveling home late. It was past nine o’clock. By then I reckoned it was past midnight in England, Europe and much of Africa.
It always struck me funny: Had Santa been to Europe yet? Why didn’t the poor people there in Africa get presents? Or did they?Who was naughty? Who was nice?
When I was young, I really didn’t have a sense of ‘the rest of the world.’ I knew from my nanny that we were lucky - that we lived in ‘the best part of the best part of the world.’
Having seen images of starving children on television, I knew that to be true. Eat your vegetables, there are children starving in Africa they used to tell me.
Were they naughty? Was I nice?
You better watch out!
Santa’s surveillance state of omnipresent elves haunts me to this day. I’m not nice. Sure, I’m kind. But nice? Not so much. When will the shadow Santa emerge and take what’s really precious? I shudder at the thought of elfishly delivered justice.
I’m not so interested in justice any more than my cat is or the crows are.1
Though I do miss the sense of peace that I had as a child being pulled along in a sleigh.
I miss the belief that my world was simple and ok and that Santa would be kind to everyone.
I wish you a soft, snowy night walk, rosey cheeks, wet wool and of the comfort that you can find.
We’re not so different, me, the cats and the crows. Given the right circumstances none of us would hesitate to eat each other.