Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Hanukkah Sameach

Hi. I'm back.

It was, all in all, a good Hanukkah, I think. We only forgot to light once, and we wouldn't have had enough candles if we'd lit that night anyway. Actually, any Hanukkah during which we finish the holiday with essentially no candles is a good one in my book. (We ended with 2: we started with over 100, a full box and some leftover from last year and a box from Z.'s daycare.) I'm not going to go into the acquisitions, which were not too excessive but also not entirely free from excess, but the excess was excess I can live with, so, you know, it was okay.

But oh, those dancing lights.

We're in the time of year when it's hardest for me to feel connected to the world around me, especially when it's a week like this one and the clouds are low and the color of dust and show no signs of giving way for days. I start to feel like I'm drowning for lack of light, like the oxygen isn't making it to my lungs because they're slowly filling up with grey.

Those candles, they help. They might not be anything more than pretty lights, but they are cheerful and they are an excuse for people to come together and sing and to Maccabee yoga, even. The simple fact of a holiday that we arrive at each year--in gladness or guilt or hope or sorrow--promises that the earth will keep revolving until it's our turn in the sun again. This year, when the holiday was entirely before the solstice, I imagined that each additional candle made up for the diminishing light in my mid-Atlantic day. And I recalled winters that were harder than this one, and counted myself lucky, really.

The year is turning, the sun is going, the sun will return. At least, it always has.

This is a time of year when I feel like the Christianity I was raised with and the Judaism I embrace now are entirely inadequate to the rhythm of the year. Everything powerful for me about Christmas is pagan. The loss of the sun is profound. All the green, abundant growth of the year that needs the sun for survival--all that is done, it's dead, it's returning to the earth to be used again for new growth. If anything is happening at all, it's happening underground, where it can't be seen and to disturb it would be to destroy it. I can consider the dead leaves, or turn my face from them, it doesn't really matter. Mostly I just need to keep going, trusting that beneath my feet and past my conscious mind there is something that will, in the fullness of Spring, turn into the tiniest of buds and the most translucent of green and grow, day by day, to harvest the energy of the sun.

In the meanwhile, I wish hibernation were an option. I really do.

1 comment:

Julia said...

I missed this last week because of my own crap. Sorry. This is a very interesting perspective. I actually like snow for what can be done with snow, and for the look of it, even for the feel of a very cold day. Last winter was nothing like this winter. So I am not much flashing to what was there a year ago, but am instead taking solace in that at least nature is doing what it is supposed to do in the middle of December. I don't think I ever really thought much about what is happening underneath it all to ready for the explosion of green.