A December Sunday afternoon. Sunny but cold. Back from the store after filling the bags with comfort food and settling down to football and beer, little music, and SMACK kill that flying gnat.
But a few thoughts keep rumbling around this season.
Every December brings thoughts of the year past. The hot summer nights, the spring flowers, the fall leaves, the cold of winter. But this year has been different.
The first day of this year was the most incredible day I have ever had. But enough about that for now.
This 2008 year has been an ever tensing economy, realization that the secure industry you have worked for 38 years is sinking fast. Friends and colleagues day-by-day disappear. The cost of doing business.
The other day, I took a day off to control my once-a-year cold. The next day the newspaper printed that 18 employees were laid off.
"Do I have a job? Do I go back to work?"
So I peddle down to work, looking at the old sites and start to contemplate.
"What would I do if it is all over?"
Unemployment? Re-invent yourself? Go back to school? Just retire??
My thoughts went to some of my friends who have already retired. One is getting part time jobs. One is laying in a hospital bed. One is staying at home with a pacemaker.
Is that what I want?
But the economy is not all there is to the end of the year.
The season of reflections also means holidays with food, laughter, friends. Dressing up the house and yourself to party and travel to family gatherings.
Unless you do not have any friends. Or family. Then what?
Yes, I could attend gatherings with associates where the drink flows freely and debauchery continues to entice the possibilities of a dream soon vanished.
The season of giving, but giving what? The houses of organized religion wait all year for this month to decorate, sing, and praise the holiday, but only to those who give to them.
But it makes you feel good to give an open buffet meal to people in rags for one day and a few scrapes of tinsel and plastic to children who need an education and role model.
Wake up at sunrise and walk to the nearest park past the blue glow of TVs in every window. Stand silently. Enjoy the quiet because the rest of the world is inside their homes opening presents.
Throw a broken pieces from a couple of loafs of bread to the ground and stand still and watch the gathering before you. Feather and fur arrive to feast on the biggest holiday, but it is just a treat for them.
And when the feast is done, they scurry away. But that is enough.
The walk home is warm and fulfilling.
So what will you do this season?
Enjoy yourself with new stuff or have a fulfilling feeling?
It's up to you.