Monday, December 24, 2001

24th December 2001 01-45 am
The lake just outside, maybe 50 metres from my home, is over
30 kilometres long. Today spasmodic shafts of sunlight
sparkled from the fast forming ice, reflected onto
nearby pine trees and shimmered on the black/white patterned
trunks of the noble Birch trees.
Nature's team of artists have been busy pointilising white
highlights on all the trees and bushes and the carpetting
team have been doing their thing with sublty textured
white over the land itself.
In looks like we are in for one of those good
old yesteryear traditional white Christmases.
I've written and sent the cards cards..still have a few
precious ones to send over email....and followed
my personal tradition of playing Handel's Messiah as
well as some of the Christmas 'tunes' we all like to hear.
I am especially fortunate to possess a cassette of an
incredible Norwegian choir, a boys and mens choir, called
Solvguttene (The Silver Boys) who render some of the very
special Scandinavian Christmas melodies with a purity of sound
and precision of co-ordination that...well, frankly, brings tears
to the eyes.
Outside our home I have, for the past 2 years, erected a 1 metre
diameter 'Christmas Star' composed of Christmas lights.I understand
it is visible from many kilometres away, across and down the lake.
I usually decorate inside with hanging decorations, some of which I
have had for over 30 years. These kind of connect me to my past, to
my life in England and all those incredible Christmases that shower my
memory more thickly than any snowfalls can.
So far, however, I have not been able to find the motivation to
erect the star or install any decorations.
In my small, perhaps insignificant, way I am mindful of a need
to remember all those who will not be able to share this Christmas
with a loved one's presence, someone who has now departed this life.
I especially feel this to be, as it were, highlighted by the events of
September 11th. This first year of the new millenium has been
a unique year for all of mankind. It is a year that we can never forget
and there are many, many, many whose existence and presence
cannot be forgotten.
The unfolding of this tragedy in all it's graphic detail through
the instantaneous media now available to us, has located all
of us into the middle of an enormous tragedy in a way that
perhaps we have never seen or known before.
So, I feel my lights should not go up this year as a token of
a shared grief. My wife and I will probably light some candles
in the snow outside, as we have done previously...though this
time I shall light mine with a greater sense of commemoration.
Christmas is a time for family, for sweet memories of friends
and remembrances of people we have loved...and still love
though they are no longer in our physical presence.

So, my "Christmas lights" will be absent as a token of the 'unseen
presence'. It is a small token. It is a sincere token.

Sometimes it is only when something appears to be absent in our
reality that it is really present in our awareness.

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