It’s that time of year. Well, it’s that time of year, too. But what I mean is that it’s the disappearing time of year.
This December has been so warm that I’ve found myself pulled outside to wonder at the strangeness of the weather. The last week has been gray and humid and warm enough to make me think of March and tornado season. Languid is the best word I can think of to describe it. But my interior life has been anything but languid.
For the past few years I’ve spent each holiday season on deadline, and this year is no different. Throw in Christmastime, mountains of gifts to ship, cards to send, homeschooling to keep up with, and a long succession of failing appliances, plus squirrels who refuse to be defeated by a single one of our birdfeeders, and it’s no wonder I feel a tad overwhelmed. Do you feel that, too?
Don’t get me wrong. I love to be busy. I LIVE to be busy. I recently read a quote from someone terribly famous (though who it was escapes me) about how creative people need to cultivate the skill of boredom. What? I don’t even know what that means. I spend a lot of time doing what most people would call daydreaming. I meditate. I fantasize. But sometimes I look like I’m doing other things. I am never, ever bored. There are too many things to think about, too many things to enjoy, too many things that cry out to be done or touched or changed or just noticed.
This is the time of year I notice things close to home, and am needful of those things. Perhaps it’s some ancient hibernating mechanism that kicks in. When I’m writing, or taping up boxes to mail, or writing cards, or walking the dogs, sometimes I forget to check in with the rest of the world. And that includes my closest friends. I forget to check in on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram–things I should be doing. Different things feed us at different times. Maybe should shouldn’t be in our vocabularies.
It’s good to disappear sometimes, I think. To have seasons in which we can listen to our internal rhythms. It doesn’t seem like a coincidence that this often happens right before the New Year. With a New Year comes that precious clean slate–a slate that everyone shares. Of course, any one of us can start anew any time of year. Introspection has no start-by date.
I wonder if this is an introspective season for you, too. If someone close to you disappears for a while and their life seems, from the outside, to be fallow, don’t panic. (I don’t mean physically disappears or is abducted by aliens or is lost in the depths of depression. Those are all completely worry-worthy.) Don’t fret that you’ve done something wrong–It’s probably not about you at all. As the song says (or Ecclesiastes, if you prefer), “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”
As to the gingerbread house picture…It’s that season, too.