There is a feeling about Christmas. When I was younger it would often happen in the evening in November, shortly after a snowfall when I was walking down the street to the ice rink. Everything would start to slow down. The street lamps would dim. Cars would seem to disappear, the people at the rink would filter off into the shack, and a hush would fall over the crunch of my footsteps on the sidewalk’s caked-on snow. The twinkle of my neighbour’s Christmas lights would soften amongst all the white and it was almost like I could hear music coming from the array of colours sparkling in the cool night air. I would feel alone. Not a bad kind of alone, but like some higher power wanted to give me a moment of existence to myself, so I could see the world’s true beauty. Like that moment existed only for me to see. All of the difficulties and ugliness I faced everyday ceased to exist. It would only last a few moments, but they were the most wonderful moments. My chest would rise, filling with the crisp winter air, but even my breath sounded soft, muted, almost like it belonged to someone else. In those moments I felt like something was trying to encourage me, tell me that it was all worth it, that it all had its places, that it was all connected. In the most perfect of these winter nights, it would start to snow again and the cloak of tranquility around me would grow thicker. I would get stronger. I’d find the will to keep going. Maybe this was a winter thing, a celestial sort of earthly experience and has nothing to do with Christmas. Without the Christmas lights, though, I doubt it would have been so magical. I’m not sure how many people can remember being so small and feeling so big, of having no real idea of the complexities that await when childhood slips away.
Tonight, there wasn’t any snow. There wasn’t a rink or music or crunch of my boots. But tonight as I drove home I had a moment. Someone told me that moment would come. She said one day I will see beauty in the world again. And tonight as I drove home along the 805, nearly watching two cars in my rearview mirror collide with a rather sporadic lane change, I couldn’t help but marvel at the clashing of their head lights. And then I looked over to the city, the lights twinkling and gleaming all the way to the ocean. Usually it looks like any other city. The city’s lights at night. Usually it’s no big deal. But tonight, for the first time in many years, I looked at this city’s night lights and I thought it was one of the most beautiful things I have seen in a long time. Then something clicked and I had no more excuses. And in that moment I knew there is still beauty in this life, but I am no longer a small child.
A few blocks from home a banner of lights hanging across Newport Street caught my eye … Seasons Greetings. There’s no such thing as coincidence, but I have to wonder how the world knew I would fill up for gas and turn down that street and needed just one little sign to tell me I’m going the right way.