What are you watching/reading/listening to/eating today, December 8th?
If nothing else, it seems that we are being bombarded by noise and — while not quite ill-will — odd-will. Meaning: people seem to be behaving lately in a particularly sour manner. I don’t know if it’s just end-of-year ennui, lengthening darkness (for another twelve days), the hopes that we pack into the season, missing friends and family who are no longer with us. It’s hard to stay connected to the world via the news, and so I am almost embarrassed to admit: I can’t and I often don’t. I can only take in what I can take in, and when I reach my tipping point —- well before that —- I stop and get out into the air, or I go into my kitchen, or I read, or I play music. Last week, my cousin Sarah had a baby girl —- Maya —- and her birth has done a lot to reorder the noise in my life: nothing much matters when there are newborns around. Honestly.
But then, the news of the far-right near disaster in Germany, averted God knows how, and the knowledge that this is likely happening everywhere, on a very grand scale with an assist from QAnon. Brittney Griner’s release reduced to Why Her And Not Him (with its inevitable racist and anti-LGBTQ+ innuendo). The parents of so many of my dear friends falling into states of dementia. One of my oldest friends, whose mother was diagnosed with cancer the same week that her middle-aged sister-in-law went into hospice with a malignant brain tumor.
I mean, come on. Really?
So we are here, a few weeks out from Christmas and already the end-of-year sales and lists and listicles (don’t get me started) and round-ups and awards and holiday movies and playlists are clogging up my email in-box. The requests for donations —- almost every one I get is important and valid and I have to make the decision between what checks to write and what not to out of dwindling resources —- which would total well into the thousands if I sent money to every one of them. Saying no, which I must to some, feels Dickensian.
Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don't give up. - Anne Lamott
All of which brings me to Elizabeth David’s famous declaration: that she wanted to spend the holidays in bed with a glass of champagne and a smoked salmon sandwich, and wake up in the New Year. Or something like that.
As for the bad news, my friend Annie Lamott says it best: Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don't give up.
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