Warmth expands molecules and cold shrinks them. The seasons do that as well. The cold of winter brings is all close together for the cold season of ice and snow and keeps us close to our family for Christmas Day.
The calendar tells me it’s Chrismas season. The highlighted box that represents today on my Google calendar keeps scooting towards the 25th of December, leaving fewer and fewer boxes in between. It ’tis the season. That’s what my calendar tells me, that’s what the stuffed Santas around town tell me, but I don’t see it.
Here I feel summer erupting around me. The flowers are radiant and twirl up from the thick green grass, vines crawl up from the flowers and grass to embark on a journey up the sides of a tree. All of them reaching towards the sun. The green pours through the town, around the clear stream that runs through town, and up to the surrounding hills to rest under and beside the rocky peaks. Not a spot missed. The lake is brimming with plants and trees and life. Each green leaf polished from the rains of Spring.
There is a bike path I walk on everyday and every thing is see contradicts the fact that it ’tis the season. The graveled path weaves through the cut grass; hugging the lakes edge. The lake is calm. Still. The edges of the water ripple against black volcanic rock and sink into the deep moss that reaches out from the rock banks. The water so still. Tall trees, vibrant purple flowers, rich greens: summer is coming and so is Christmas, apparently.
Here it’s the season when you breathe again. After a long cold winter, summer let’s you open your chest again and uncurl from the frost ball that formed in the deep cold months. The frost ball my family and friends back home are just beginning to be encased in. Here it’s the season where nights become longer not shorter, sunsets sink into the lake at nine thirty and summer night breezes curl around the lake’s edges. The season of late night beers by the lake, dipping toes in brisk water, bravely jumping off docks, and laughing outside with friends. It’s that season here for me. It’s a great season because of all that, because of the nights, adventures and friends. But it’s not Christmas season.
It’s hard for me to realize that I’m missing Christmas because it doesn’t feel like the season. People ask me if I’ll miss having Christmas at home but the thing I’ll miss more is the time before Christmas. I’m going to miss the whole season. Christmas is so great, so missable, because of all the days that lead up to December 25th. The snow storms, sledding adventures, hopes for snow days, holiday parties, nights inside with hot drinks and good people. Those are the days that make Christmas feel special. It’s being able to turn your Christmas tree lights on at five at night when it’s starting to get dark outside, not ten like here. It’s being home and staying home because it’s too dark and cold to go anywhere else. There aren’t late nights in the winter like there are in the summer. Your with you family more the friends. It’s about being forced by the cold and ice storms to be with your family around the warm fire, not daring to go into the cold.
The days leading up to Christmas are the days I’ll miss. Those are the days I’ll count down until they come again next year. Here I get to fall into the waves of summer and enjoy the sunshine, the summer nights and sunset beers but Christmas won’t be be quite the same without those snowy days.