Thursday, November 30, 2017

Pineapple Express to Polar Express: Getting in the Spirit of Things

And just like that – Christmas is here.

People say it every year that ‘Christmas just snuck up’ on us – as if we didn’t know it was coming for the last 364 days of the year. One minute it’s summer, then it’s back to school, then Thanksgiving, Halloween and Remembrance Day (in that order if you’re in Canada), then WHAM! It’s deck the halls, untangle the lights, and start panicking!

And this year, for me, it simply DID sneak up on me – and I think the weather played a big part in what feels like Christmas’ sudden appearance. Because it truly feels – as cliché as it is – that just yesterday was summer. I spent the summer on the archery range, and even up until the middle of October I was out there with just a t-shirt and shorts. I was still swimming in the lake at the end of September, the trees with their changing leaves reflecting on the waters’ surface. Aside from one FREAK snowstorm one Thursday night merely a few weeks ago, we truly haven’t had much of a winter – yet. They say it’s coming and will hit us hard when it does, but until then we will enjoy all the rain and above normal temperatures we have been getting. A Pineapple Express weather system courtesy of Hawaii has been soaking our Christmas wrapping paper along my beloved west coast – or should I say ‘wet’ coast. There have been clouds, clouds and more clouds, bringing rain, rain, and more rain. But what is specific to this Pineapple Express is the temperature - warm, warm, and more warm - with temperatures being up around 15 degrees Celsius (59 for those in Fahrenheit). Yes, the buckets of rain we have been getting make playing outside a tad challenging, however not totally impossible, and the warm breeze that comes through when the rain DOES decide to take a break is rather....alarming. I hope Santa brings his bathing suit.

But Hawaii we are not, and Christmas is coming no matter what the weather. Today (as I write this) the sun is shining for a mere few hours before the rain hits again. No frost, no runny noses, no brisk mornings and chilly fireplace-needing nights. Yet, Christmas is supposed to be a feeling – a season – a way of being of spreading goodwill to all men, no matter what day or time of year it is and no matter what the weather is ‘supposed’ to be. I think it feels like it ‘snuck’ up on us in part because our weather had been so nice for so long that we haven’t had ‘winter’ yet to put us in the mood. But even if we WERE in Hawaii, where when it rains it pours but is gone faster than you can grab your surf board, Christmas would still come and all the lights and baubles would still twinkle and sparkle. Just like here, but hotter.
Most stores were politically correct in waiting until after Remembrance Day to allow ‘Christmas’ to explode all over their aisles and shelves, and I’m so very, very thankful they have finally started waiting until an appropriate time (it didn’t always used to be like that). But I don’t blame ‘lack of decorations’ on my lack of Christmas enthusiasm. I think it’s because I have been in a blur these last few months, changes and transitions making me pensive and reflective and therefore sabotaging my creative spirit. So it’s only been recently when I’ve run into a store and the silver, gold, holy and ivy have smacked me in the face that have I sort of ‘come to’ and realized how much time has passed while I was grey.

I needed my bells jingled.

I needed a little sparkle.

And despite the rain and dark clouds in the sky and in my head, Christmas decorations are still going up on every street corner while strings of lights are just about all untangled.

So where I had been in a foggy cloud of pensive self-reflection, I now realize that the Hawaiian Christmas we are seemingly having, along with the materialistic glitz and glam that has thrown-up in the stores and on the streets, is maybe just what the doctor ordered. Maybe seasons, celebrations and annual events are needed to stop and think and assess all that we have, no matter the weather, no matter the tradition, no matter the ebb and flow of the polar express of change. Maybe, after all, it wasn’t the lack of traditional Christmasy winter weather that didn’t get me in the mood, but maybe it was ME that prevented me from getting into the spirit of it all. It’s been a weird year, personally and globally, and despite all the great things I have done this year, despite the most important being that my family is safe and healthy, I let clouds get in the way of seeing the sparkle that is there year round. I think I let the rain we have so recently been deluged with water-down my already non-Christmas cheer.

But I also realize that Christmas suddenly appearing all over the place actually put me in my place; it woke me up enough to get me out of my pensive cloud. Sure the clouds have ACTUALLY been around for a while – all those pineapples whamming up against the windows and whatnot – but who says I have to keep MY head in the clouds? Who says I have stay in the grey? Yes, things change – transition is always upon us no matter what – but we have to keep going. We have to keep watching for the bright and shiny around every corner, no matter what time of year and no matter the weather. Deep down I know things could be so much worse. Perspective bops me on the head every so often, and right now I guess I needed that candy cane to whack me over the head. Heck, I'm lucky I even get to HAVE 'Christmas' with all it's festivities, glam and glitz, and indulgences. A season is what you make of it - excitement, joy and love are there for the taking no matter one's beliefs.

I have to keep looking up, and not down at the puddles. Puddles DO eventually go away, and before we know it Christmas will be gone, a new year will be here, and spring will be making an appearance. It’s time to get out of my funk, get creative and get DOING, and get in the Christmas spirit - because time keeps flying by. And I intend on enjoying every moment of the Pineapple Express while I wait for the Polar Express that always comes our way no matter what, no matter the weather.