As I sit here this winter evening, cold wind blowing outside, listening to the jazz program on NPR I can’t help but think that I’m somewhere I’m not. My mind is drifting like the snow, but my body remains stagnant, stuck where its at, rooted here like a tree. Its hard sometimes in winter to get yourself motivated to move, to get out and brave what the cold work is offering. There are alot of reasons I like to stay inside, not the least of which include really poorly sung holiday songs. The warmth of a wine, or a nice evening coffee is much more comforting than another rendition of “White Christmas”.
When I was living in Australia this time last year, that song had such a different meaning. For some reason, I was able to tolerate those pieces when it is around 90 degrees outside. It is easier to think about this “white christmas” as being far away, distant from anywhere close to you where people are suffering because of the immense cold, while you are able to spend your afternoons at the beach, getting the loveliest of Christmas tans. It is entirely different as well to have a big roast dinner on a 90 degree Christmas day. Hard to stomach, yes, but sometimes you have to plough through. The more common custom is the seafood bar-b-que, which seems more European in nature, although I think it mostly has to do with the abundance of seafood available in Australia. Sydney Fish Market is alive and well a few days before the 25th, and it becomes difficult to find parking. Certainly a tradition I can embrace. The entire winter months in the northern hemisphere are so incredibly conducive to being lazy, that my body aches to flee to the warmth of the southern. It yearns for the sun to warm and bronze my skin, for the days to be hot and the nights to be balmy. For the sea breeze and the late night sunset. The sand and surf, and the surf and turf.
I found this poem today – it has just stuck with me.
Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.
Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.
And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.
– By A.E. Housman.