For many of us it is celebrated as Christmas Eve. For many of us it is not a celebratory eve. But here is what it is, a day, 24 hours, winter in the northern hemisphere, summer in the southern hemisphere the third shortest day in the northern and the third longest day in the southern. Imagine if the earth suddenly upended. You’d think that we’d all be suddenly standing on our heads. But! But no one is right now, and half the globe is upside down from the other half, no? Yet we are all standing feet to the ground heads to the air. Here is the mystery of gravity.
How many mysteries are there in life? This pleases me. I like the freedom to explore that not-knowing gives. And I like this about mysteries, they are greater than us. And I hold to that this season while I celebrate Christmas.
And every place on earth has its own sources of things to wonder about, many of them to celebrate. Every square inch does. And somebody has figured out one thing, say-why there are pines with three needles per bunch and pines with five needles per bunch and pines with shorter or longer needles; even, say-the molecular content of a grain of dirt, and somebody else who doesn’t get it about pines or dirt or even care, has figured out how to look at another person’s facial expression and know just the right way to respond, and someone else knows why a rosemary plant can be stored all winter either in the ground or a cool place (depending on what planting zone you live in–another wonder!) while a basil plant cannot overwinter. Why do some birds nest in treetops and some in brush?
And why am I curious about this nest and not the mechanics of an automobile engine?
Can someone tell me how Stella, who was napping upstairs, knew that the squirrel was caching nuts in the window box outside my window, and came down here to sit on my desk and see? (This was a few days ago, pre-current snowfall, all 12 inches of which, by the way is melting right now as I type. Why?)
I finish today’s post with this poem by James Joyce. Written in 1932, and is said to celebrate the birth of his grandson and to mourn the death of his father.
Of the dark past
A child is born;
With joy and grief
My heart is torn.
Calm in his cradle
The living lies.
May love and mercy
Unclose his eyes!
Young life is breathed
On the glass;
The world that was not
Comes to pass.
A child is sleeping:
An old man gone.
O, father forsaken,
Forgive your son!
Ecce Puer is translated as: behold a young boy
And I share a Christmas wrapping picture (and I notice that Stella got into this photograph too!):