What is the texture of December? How does it feel against your cheek? In the palm of your hand? In the back of your throat?
The textures contrast more than any other month. December exhibits extremes:. Concrete pavements and walls are cold and rough. I sleep on flannel sheets. My fingers are stiff and red on mornings I forget mittens. The kids have rosy cheeks, warmed by an open fire in a pub. The grass, not yet covered by any snow, is weary and downtrodden, marred by mud. Strings of lights outline buildings and flash and shine in cheery sequence. The extremes extend to my feelings – Is it a quiet season or reflection and solitude, moving more slowly? Or is it a time for gatherings and celebration and song? Is it a time to give gifts and indulge? Or is it a time to practice a greater compassion outside our own comfortable circles? In June, when the weather is warm or mild, the foliage covers all these differences, the air moves more easily between thresholds of in and out. But December is a study in contrasts. I can’t hold one texture without feeling that its opposite is only moments or meters away.
I feel this month as contrasts too. Snow that looks so unlike how it feels. Hot and sweaty when exercising outside but then cold the instant that stops. Afternoon sun so warm and bright but then so quickly it sets leaving cold long shadows. And the pace of preparing to celebrate, yet at a time of year when people also pause to think beyond their regular routine.
December is the month so full of anticipation but when so many things do not go according to plan, a month I currently approach with some trepidation. Huge flurries of activity and preparation, and then hours of inertia. Hope, disappointment, excitement, sorrow. Snuffles, and marzipan. I have butterflies in my tummy.
As a child, I looked forward to December with unalloyed anticipation – visions of sugarplums and so forth. As an adult, I’m notice how many mixed feelings come with December. It no longer has the straightforward sweetness of simply believing in Father Christmas. When does that pure excitement start to become tempered? Trepidation is a good word you’ve used up there.
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