Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Merry

Whichever Holiday or Holidays you celebrate, here are some origins of traditions of the season to remember:

In ancient Rome and earlier, the bringing of forest greenery indoors (holly, ivy etc) during the winter solstice - the darkest time of the year - symbolized the power of the sun and eternal life - "evergreen."

The burning of the Yule log in ancient Celtic and Germanic tradition has a similar meaning - a celebration of the power and life-giving warmth of the sun.

Mistletoe originally symbolzed a truce or peace, and later came to signify a blessing or good luck for couples who kissed underneath it. Here's to lots of xoxox's this season!

And some more contemporary contemplations....

"A lovely thing about Christmas is that it's compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together." - Garrison Keillor

"What do you call people who are afraid of Santa Claus? Claustrophobic." - Anonymous

"Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall." - Larry Wilde

"As soon as you stop wanting something you get it." - Andy Warhol

"And he puzzled and puzzled till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store? What if Christmas, he thought, means a little bit more." - Dr. Suess

Merry merry everyone...

Saturday, December 10, 2005


Moonrise in New Mexico

I 'm working hard to summon the holiday spirit this year. This week I have been to several parties here in San Francisco with a bad cold I masked with mega-doses of Advil - the result being that I now have literally no voice. Anyone who knows me knows that this is torture (at least for me!) In the uncharacteristic quiet imposed on me this weekend by this condition, I'm trying to summon some of the spirit I began to feel at Thanksgiving in New Mexico. It seems like months ago already. Whenever we arrive in winter, I immediately recognize the smell of Pinon pine on the sharp air, the narrow avenues of adobe walls decorated with holiday Luminarias, and the gentle rising shapes of Sun and Moon mountains on the horizon. Days of amazing hikes are followed by evenings by the fire.

I realized that as of this year, we have been visiting Santa Fe regularly for twenty years, when Joe's mom and stepfather first moved there from Connecticut. It is a stunning place, when one learns to look beyond the tourists and the disturbing inequality between the haves and the have-nots. I focus on the landscape, the skies, the weather, and the sense of spirituality that somehow resides in the nature there, no matter what your religion - if any. I always come away feeling cleansed, fresh and renewed, even though my sea-level skin is unused to the dryness. It is harder to get to this peaceful inner place when one has been in four traffic jams on the Bay Bridge in the past four days, but I am trying. This year more than ever, it seems we all need a little peace.