Sunday, December 03, 2006

'Tis the season

December has begun, and the countdown to my holidays is on. The town is already beginning to look and feel festive. There are houses that have their trees and lights up; the Santa Claus parade took to the streets yesterday. Last night, I attended my first unofficial Christmas party of the season. It's the first Christmas music I've heard, and the night was full of good conversations with good company. We had wine, coffee with Bailey's, rum and Coke, and the most delicious chocolate cake. Incidentally, it was also the occasion to celebrate the birthday of my “adoptive” father up here. He's the same age as my real Dad, and has taken care of me these few years in my home away from home. One of my friends at the party had just lost her grandfather yesterday, and was in need of having people around her to chat and laugh and reminisce. I hope we provided that for her, and that she found a bit of comfort in having all of us – complete strangers to her just a few months ago – rally around her and listen to her and remind her that she had people who cared. So, although it was not a night of unfettered joy, it was something even better: It was a night of realizing that connection with people could be fast and deep, that for all of our individual “aloneness,” we had each other, that the people in our lives are the family we choose for ourselves.

Tonight, I'm going to help a friend decorate her Christmas tree. Yesterday, she had called me to go ski-doo out to cut down a couple of trees, but alas, I wasn't home. So, she went and got me a tree as well, but I think that I'd be satisfied to help decorate hers. My cat would have a field day if I were to have a live tree, and since I won't be here over the holidays, I think the second tree should go to someone who would be around and could fully enjoy it.

I've been invited to a co-worker's house for supper this coming Tuesday.  This is the same co-worker who had offered to make me a pair of fur mitts. So many people have been intent on taking care of me, making sure that I won't feel lonely this holiday season. Next weekend, I'll be attending a house party. Although I normally loathe potlucks due to my culinary inadequacies, I'm looking forward to another night of outward laughter and inward contentment.

Then, there will be more work parties. And, to top things off, I'm looking forward to the community Christmas concert. I've been to every single one since my first year up here. I love sitting in the huddled mass within the warmth of the igloo church, seeing families and friends all together to sing. I had played the piano for a couple of the concerts, but this year, no one has contacted me yet. I might have the opportunity to enjoy the singing from the vantage point of being part of the audience-participants. Of all the community events, the Christmas concert is the one I love the most. It warms me, lifts me, and provides me with a deep, inner peace. The craziness of the holidays disappears; all that is left is voices melding and connecting under the northern sky. 

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