Annamaria on Monday
Considering recent events, not even Stan’s funny songs cheered me up for long. When I ruminated over the topic I had in mind to write about this week, I couldn’t force myself into it. I wanted to write something cynical and angry. But truth to tell, I don’t have the body chemistry to sustain that point of view long enough to do so.
I procrastinated by putting the finishing touches on the Christmas tree. I almost didn’t put up the tree this year. But I am glad I did. Handling the ornaments reminded me of what was important.
Regular visitors to this blog know that I am not religious. But I am an Italian cultural traditionalist. There is a beauty in the old family ways that grounds me. My hands and my heart are trained to cook the foods, dress up the house, keep the hope of peace alive.
The decorations on my tree are a hodgepodge. Some handmade things from forty, fifty years ago. Some the primitive work of child hands. Some produced by my little girl with her grandmother.
There are paeans to my city.
An artifact that attests to David’s sense of humor.
Extremely precious to me are souvenirs from or of places where I have traveled. Wherever I’ve gone, I’ve bought things to hang on the Christmas tree. Some were designed and manufactured for that purpose. Others are items of local culture that were small and attractive enough to serve the purpose of beautifying our Christmas celebration.
I began today desperate for a lift to my spirits and balm to my soul. I found it in those souvenirs. In China, Bolivia, Morocco, Namibia, Italy, Jordan, England, wherever I have gone, I have seen ordinary people going about their lives. Lovers holding hands. Mothers with their babies. Grandfathers, walking home from school, telling their wisdom their grandsons. Men repairing the roads. Hundreds of people who smiled at the foreigner with the map. I have eaten the local food. Heard the local music. Admired the artifacts of many cultures. All those people, wanting nothing more than to be left in peace to live their lives.
Whatever else goes on in the world, they persist. They fall in love. They work. They make music and art. And babies.
They give me hope. And I love them for it.