Khyrsso recently blogged that he feels like hibernating. Wise man.
Several weeks ago the family drove to Temple Bar, a marina and campground on Lake Mead in Arizona, scoping out the perfect campground for Yule. We found a site near a little hill that can be climbed in a few minutes. At the top of the hill is a clear view of sunrise between mountain ranges.
I had fantasies of our well-bundled little family hunkered down near a big fire, all of our cold weather gear in use. Temperatures might be in the 30s, but it would likely be dry. I imagined us imagining what it was like at the solstice thousands of years ago. We would make a holiday feast in a dutch oven, and rise just before dawn to climb the hill and softly drum the sun up.
But for the last couple of weeks, the boys and I have been fighting off our annual visit from the winter crud. I've had to slow down. It's the 16th of December, and the room the tree goes in isn't ready. The holiday decorations are still packed away deep in a closet. We have yet to begin our holiday shopping. Yule is this weekend, and I have been barely able to keep up with normal activities.
In years past, I usually tried to overdo things at Yule. There's the solstice, and there is the commercial Christmas holiday with Santa, and elaborate feasts. There are parties, celebrations, and public rituals. In years past, I used to bravely hope to sing in the choir on Christmas eve in the UU church, despite the twinges of remorse that I feel while singing the Christian Christmas hymns.
At least, that's the winter holidays as I imagine them in my head.
Every winter for the last several years, the kids and I come down with the flu or a cold that morphs into upper respiratory infections. I wash the doorknobs, light switches and faucets, hoping that I can prevent the spread of germs that seem to reinfect each child just as his symptoms subside. Nothing seems to help. We end up backing out of some of the commitments we've made because the children are sick.
This year we even got flu shots.
I think I understand now.
My friend Katlyn's words come back to me: "Yule is a time of dreaming." Every year I repeat those words, and every year, I talk about dreaming but do nearly everything but.
The seed is in the earth, resting.
When discussing volunteerism, I have recently told friends I feel as if I have given everything I can, my seed has sprouted, grown tall and been cut down. Nothing is left, the seed is spent and gone.
This week, we are committed to attend a couple of festive occasions - a holiday dinner for Michael's work, a Make A Wish party for the kids.
There will be no elaborate Yule celebration at Temple Bar. Instead, we'll be spending the longest night warm and cozy at home. We'll have a fire in the fireplace, treats on the table, stories to read, and Yule music playing. We'll have cats and children in our laps. We'll drink herbal tea, then sleep deeply, surrounded by pillows under piles of blankets. Maybe, if we are feeling up to it, we'll get up an hour before dawn and drive somewhere far enough away from town to watch the sunrise.
Or maybe we'll just stay in bed.