Tuesday, December 22, 2009
I'm sure it feels like this everywhere but it certainly feels like the holidays have completely surprised us by how fast they've arrived. The enormous difference this year is here in the jungle things are much (as much as much can be) less commercial. I haven't noticed more advertising, more sales, more stuff. There's a lack of stuff here, a lack of stuff and a lack of money to buy it.
So instead people focus on their families and their holiday meals. Everyone here has a different way, some spring for some holiday liquor, some make special meats, some bake special breads. It's slightly cheerier, occasionally we'll see buildings lit up with lights and when we do it's like magic lighting up the night. Spirity-spirit, M calls it. And it is. As the days progress neighbors occasionally stop by with treats and we've been doing the same, a family near us has had a series of challenges this year, their already meager existence has been threatened even more with illness and injury and as such we've tried to do a few things to assist.
And this year is lacking another former constant in my life: spending holidays at the shelter. Prior to this year I'd spent more holidays than I can count inside shelters, doing my part to make it okay for guests and volunteers alike and this year I am relieved of that burden and the blessing too, there is no one who needs me this year beyond my family and it's quieter and easier and feels just about right. I did my time and I loved all of it but this year it's been for M, a year where she isn't coming in second and that's meant more magic for her. She's been very worried that Santa won't know to find her here, that it's too far for him to come and there are no chimneys to speak of but we've assured her he's gotten her letter and he knows what's what.
So it's good, this thing. We are warm but not hot, we are mostly dry and only have a few bug bites. We found some simple things we'll turn into a meal, not like holidays of past but of a holiday present, one that is simple and good and simply good enough.