12.05.2013,8:06 PM
Remembrances of Christmases Past
My last Christmas (2012) was probably the worst one I remember. For several personal reasons, which will remain silent. As the season grows nearer, I find myself lapsing into a subtle state of "No, please. Not again." Little Voice under the covers wants to poke the bad memories and I try to keep it in a box with the cover pressed tightly down.

Then I happened upon an old post I wrote from a good year; 2009. I think a few readers might even remember that week and the festivities. Including a fortuitous stranger we met that week, who, with his family in Indiana, have become good friends through the years.

As I reread this post, I smiled. And the Little Voice is stuffed back in a box, buried in a hole and quieted.

Christmas Eve Day

Time is a human construction. Although two arrows revolving around a center point are used to measure it, as we humans seem obsessed with measuring everything down to its smallest denominator, time is relative. Einstein offered a theory for Denominatorists to understand and accept, but it really is very simple. Time, speed and the observer are integral to the equation. Nor are there any real rules. Because they change as well. In time and speed. And the observer.

In Big Bend speed and time constantly change. From the perspective of an urbanite, they both slow way down. Almost seeming to crawl or stop. To someone living here, they are merely fluid; they change all the time from very slow to flashing fast. How we see time and speed is related to what the human lenses are used to. Just remember the lenses are attached to a brain, one chock full of past experiences and expectations. It's all relative.

Here days prescribed with special meanings in the bigger world take on new meanings or none at all. Unlike the clock hung on the wall, a wrist or on a cell phone, our societies attach additional significance to certain days of the year. Along with this are specific rituals, ceremonies, and conventions. These, too, are used to measure time, speed, and each other. But in remote and isolated areas like parts of Big Bend, all those can fall away, be reconstructed with new meanings, or renewed with the origins of old meanings.

Over the decades this prescribed Holiday lost its meaning for me. To the point where I dreaded it and fled from it. The only meaning left for me was my daughter. Possibly because she represented the innocence and the goodness in the original meanings of the Holiday. It was a reason to rejoice and share.

Now that she is an adult with her own world, I find remnants of that in Big Bend and sharing it with a small group of people. Between us and for a small period of time, they become my family. All the modern trappings driven by consumerism fall away, the stress driven by work and family expectations, the harried traffic and impatient race are left behind. Even though I abandoned all that many years ago, to watch others be beaten down by it always disturbed me. Here, it is absent. Here, we share peace and good-will toward each other.

For me, the ideal of the Christmas holiday spirit is revived. I know it is completely contrived, but that adds to the enjoyment: we choose to make it this way.

Original source is a blog site from 2009: Desert Rats 2009. By yours truly.

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posted by Macrobe
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