MONDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2014
(Three girls running arm-in-arm down a hill in the fog. Can anything be more beautiful?)
So — the report for those who couldn’t make it.We found one another in the dark and misty parking lot and headed out through fog-shrouded trees. We were quite a sizable group, but perhaps we were outnumbered by the huddle of “new pagans” and Wiccans we passed along the way. Oddly, they were singing Christmas carols (and burning sage) while looking out in the direction of Mt. Diablo.
Up a muddy hill and we reached the top. The sky glowed ever brighter as kids and adults mingled. More and more boys acquired muddy palms as the minutes passed by.
A few minutes after the sunrise (undetectable except for the brightening in all directions), I announced that I had a “sermon” — to some (surely well-deserved) mockery from my wife, who was wearing a fetching pink wig.
I spoke of our human “triumph of scale” (as opposed to the usual phrase, the “problem of scale”). In other words it struck me, sleepless in the night, how wonderful it is that we can scale up or down almost at will (up, for example, to the orbit of our planet around the sun… or down to the smallest moments of pleasure while sliding in the mud). This capability allows us to keenly appreciate what are, after all, cosmically irrelevant events (she smiled at us just before she closed the car door — did you see that?!). Or, when needed, it allows us to recognize those little events to be trivial compared to the big things in life (we were born! We have air to breathe!).
I suggested that we should try to demonstrate our own “down here” triumph of scale by reproducing the orbit of the planet around the sun with our very bodies — the “solar system” that counts most for us. With this in mind, I asked the parents and grandparents to cluster in the center of a patch of grass, and the kids ran around us like so many planets…
Okay, it sort of worked… It was fun anyway to see the kids running in circles — which was, in a way, the point, right? Which was a more important orbit at that moment, Earth’s or Felix’s?
Then Nathalie improvised some simple and gorgeous songs to the four elements — wind, earth, water, fire. She swayed and sang in a flowing tie-dyed dress and opened our hearts a little more.
There was a lot of chaos, many cups of coffee and hot chocolate and a great deal of — what’s the word? — fellowship. Affection.
Then people begin peeling away, or rather, sliding, away. Vanishing into the fog.
It was memorable in its own way. Christopher biked from his boat in Emeryville, which I will always remember. For a moment I thought he was wearing nothing but plaid boxers — which struck me as especially cool. But they were shorts.
Let the longer days begin to do their work on our vast oceans and bring us Spring. Let love flood our hearts with the brightening days.
Enjoy the holidays everybody. See you in January.