It seems to me that the smarter members of the animal kingdom have figured out that this is the time of year to put the brakes on and settle down for a long winter’s nap. Imagine climbing into bed with a heavy down comforter and remaining there until the weather decided to warm up again? Instead of filling my nest with acorns, I’d collect all the books I’ve been wanting to read over the past 12 months. (I’d cheat a little on the sleeping part). But if anyone caught me reading, I could either tell them I was only trying to get back to sleep, or that I was summoning the courage up to go out into the cold and take a peek at my shadow. Just to prove it, I could stand outside my door for one minute, claim I didn’t like the look of it and go back to bed. Who would stop me?
No such luck. Instead, my son is home for a very short winter break. He’s texting his old friends to see who’s around and when they’re busy, he skypes his new college friends (now home with their families) to find out what they’ve been up to. Yesterday he took a break from this busy social life to help me pick out a tree.
Meanwhile, I’m writing long “To Do” lists that remind me what presents I still need to make or buy or wrap, or what deadlines must be met for current and upcoming work projects. One night I forgot to eat dinner. The next morning I truly felt like I was breaking my fast. I took a break from this blog, though it was not an intended one. The days simply slipped away.
But all of this, every bit, feels trivial in light of the tragedy thrust upon a cluster of families in Connecticut. I was fixing a cup of tea when I heard and let the kettle grow cold as I tried to imagine taking in the news that my child had been murdered. A hollow, aching space opened inside my chest and I could feel it filling with tears.
There was nothing I could do. And everything. All the little details my loved ones and I fill our time with prove that we are not yet breaking. We are still alive– the greatest gift of all.