There’s something about the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day that can make me a bit melancholy. Some of it is probably due to the ghostly memories of the too many used-up years behind me. Their sheer weight hangs from the eaves like melting ice, and I can hear the drip, drip, drip until the new year is safely underway.
It’s a tad depressing, but fairly easy to talk myself out of. The primary source of the melancholy, however, is beyond my control. It’s the seasonal gloom that blots the face of half the earth this time of year.
Lots of people I know welcome what they seem to feel is the warm-hearth-and-fuzzy-slippers coziness of early nightfall. Not me. I dread the end of Daylight Savings Time. Each year I’ll change the clocks in the house to Standard Time, but I’ll leave my wristwatch set to DST. When it gets dark at 5:30 p.m., I’ll tell myself it’s really 6:30. This fools no one.
And each December I celebrate the day when sunset times resume their forward motion. In this area it happens mid-month—sooner than many people realize—days before the solstice. Here, the great machinery ground into forward gear again on Thursday, December 15th (believe me; I keep track) and as of today, we’ve already gained 10 minutes of evening daylight (yay!). At this point it’s still a few days before the rise of the sun reverses to an earlier time, but it’s not sunrise I care about. I operate on the assumption that it’s likely to rise pretty soon after I do. It’s the light at the end of the day that matters to me. And at this time of year, there’s much too little of it.
Christmas is a welcome distraction from all that, but after it’s over, I’m still left with weeks of endless night on my hands. After darkness descends, all I can see is gloom, gloom and more gloom. (Literally. I don’t see well at night. Or any other time, for that matter.) But, since I’m powerless to change the rotation of the earth, I have to accept things the way they are. In the spirit of acceptance, therefore, I’ve been thinking about New Year’s resolutions. Because it’s not like making a resolution is going to change anything, right?
Well, not typical resolutions, maybe. At least not any of the ones I’ve ever made. “I will write a poem every day for a year.” I made that resolution four years in a row. Never got through even the first six months. “This year, I will make every recipe in Baking with Julia.” That’s Dorie Greenspan’s wonderful book of Julia Child’s PBS series, and a ridiculous notion of mine. I baked perhaps three or four recipes out of the book. Not entirely my fault, though. The croissants were so good (just ask Katie and Glen) that I never got past them.
But on the other hand, it’s quite possible to make resolutions that do stand a reasonable chance of success. Not the good-for-you kind. The fun-for-you kind. Since I don’t want to overload myself with too much fun (it can be just as burdensome as too much self-improvement), for 2017 I’m going to make just three:
1. I will drink more champagne.
2. I will sing “The Doom Song.”
3. I will contemplate my favorite tree.
And I might just do all three at once.
My reason for the first: A well-mixed cocktail in the evening is lovely, but champagne . . . well, it’s champagne! It’s delicious, it’s effervescent, it’s a golden, sparkly celebration in a glass, even on the dullest of evenings. It’s “Life Made Festive, One Flute at a Time.” © Susan Rooke 2016. You read it here first. I think.
My reason for the second: Doom is an awful word, a horrific concept. It’s a thought that keeps me company all too often on these endless winter nights. But then I click here. I get approximately 30 seconds of a cartoon figure repeatedly singing the word “doom” in a shrill voice, to no apparent tune. It makes me laugh every time, and takes—for those 30 seconds, at least—the gloom out of “doom.” Thank you, Katie, for introducing me to “The Doom Song.”
My reason for the third: This enormous tree quiets my mind. Here it moves from fall into winter, ever graceful.
The world can be a brutish, frightening place. Eyes watch us from the dark woods; the beast’s belly is a vault that holds a universe of souls. We all know by now that I’m a pantywaist, which makes it even more important that I hold this determination: As often as I can, for as long as I can, I will have fun, be festive, and celebrate silliness for its own sake. Because I believe it’s necessary.
Thank you for your company; I appreciate you all. Now. Who wants to have a glass of champagne and sing “The Doom Song” with me?
To comment: Go to the right sidebar and click on the title of the post you want to comment on. You’ll find the Comments box on that page.
To receive notice of the latest blog updates: Go to the right sidebar where it says “Subscribe to Blog Posts” and fill in the boxes.
Thank you for reading; thank you for signing up to follow!