Friday, December 24, 2021

Thoughts on home, ctd

"This time last year," I wrote this time last year....

And here we are again, a second Covid Christmas and New Years, with a new variant promising a dark winter, stealing away our mental and physical well-being and our ability to press re-set, if that button can even be located. And like last year I'm thinking about home, how it's defined and what it means, for me and my wife, laying low again (by pre-Pandemic choice) in DeKalb, eschewing holiday travels, and for all of us, now that homeward is again a fraught and unhappy notion. Last December I recognized that in 2019 "I was writing that on the cusp of the deadliest year in United States' history," and I was grimly aware that what I'd written felt "quaint, if not archaic."
In 2020 the very definition of home has been radically challenged and reimagined, those with homes—to hunker down in, or to mournfully avoid—and those without forced to reckon with a new understanding of what behind closed doors means. Because we'd made the decision to eschew Christmas/New Years traveling, staying put is relatively easy for us, but I feel for those for whom flying or driving from home to home is a profound and crucial emotional component of their lives; for many, the occasion is the only time to see family and friends. And I feel for the malcontents, too, and, more seriously, the members of dysfunctional families for whom "the holidays" are torture—even those folk, forced now to stay home, may face a startling renewal of the desire for familial intimacies, even the faking of them. Home's pull is surprisingly strong; it reaches across miles and through bolted doors.
We've all gone through so much the last nineteen months, some of us numb to things, others feeling the wounds fresh still. We've passed 800, 000 U.S. deaths, a startling and macabre statistic, a grim reminder, and yet that doesn't stop us from feeling that in-the-marrow impulse to celebrate the holidays, with friends, family, or on our own. But the revelry is tempered, and I have to ask for how long. Since the answer to that question is as unknowable as the fog was thick this morning, I have to simply plug myself into what gives me pleasure, and hope that you can do the same. I'm struck today by what little insight I have as I reflect on the last year, because it feels that so little has changed even though we've experienced a year of joys as well as tragedies. The predictable stuff. All we really can do in the face of a pandemic, aside from the smart, preventative measures that, unacceptably, far too many are still reluctant to take, is to count blessings, assist others when we can, and focus on the small and large pleasures that being alive gives us. I write this in good health, vaccinated and boosted, recognizing my privilege, and luck. I'll mask up, I'll limit my socializing, I'll mourn for the bands I'm not seeing and the venues I'm not seeing them in, and I'll mourn the toll all of this is taking on us, but I'll try to keep counting my blessings. Happy Holidays.

No comments: