The holidays tend to divide us every year. You love them or you hate them. They’re easy for you or hard for you. A time of comfort or stress. One thing is almost guaranteed, though: Whatever your usual sentiments are about the holidays, they’re probably magnified in 2020.
I remember one summer in New Mexico when so many forest fires ignited across the Southwest it was impossible to escape the scent, and the detritus, of burning land. I’d take my dog on our evening walk around the block, watch the sun blaze red as it sank to the earth against an ashy sky, and then return inside to wipe soot from my face.
I don’t think I’ve ever told you about the fireflies. Now, here in the middle of a pandemic, seems like absolutely the right time. Before I tell you the story, I want to take a moment to repeat a truth that, while being said a lot these days, can never be said too much:
Tonight we moved our bodies and danced like teenage gypsies, with all of the self-consciousness and none of the rhythm, and because it was the first time we had really moved our bodies in days, it felt like freedom.
A curated list of some of my favorite (and most anxiety-reducing) stories. I hope they bring a little more light into your world.
Steinbeck used pencils while they were long and slender, when they felt to him to provide the correct balance—a shape that could propel him forward, like good running shoes; a size to help him pick and prod the right forms, like chopsticks.
I used to have a scar on my left hand that reminded me of my first Thanksgiving without my mother. I wonder now if I can even call it a scar, seeing as how it’s since faded past the point of detection—then again, we all know the most unassailable wounds are often those invisible to the eye. In any case, it was there and now it’s gone. Isn’t that the entire point?
We imagined the day the meteor struck what was now my backyard, how the shrapnel must have blown through the air like dandelion seeds, how that day had been buried by time and dirt, only to be sifted back to the surface by a biblical flood.