There used to be a rhythm to the seasons and holidays. A flow, and a pace that was pleasant and varied. Rather like waves on the lake, or ripples in a pond, gently rolling, up and down…
I miss that.
It seems to me that we now brace ourselves against holidays. Before the Halloween candy can go on sale, the Christmas decorations are up, and we brace ourselves, “No, not yet.” I was in Kroger last week, December 21, and someone had put up an Easter display. I am not making this up. The woman behind me in line couldn’t believe it, you could feel her tensing against that rush to the next thing. Bracing herself against the decorations that came too soon.
I suppose this is what comes of a consumer economy. Although all economies are based largely on consumption of goods, in America we already have all that we need and so our economy must be based on consuming things we do not need, and lots of them. Holidays help that consumption by offering something different like M&Ms of varying colors: pink in February, green in March, Red and Green at Christmas. But we must not allow for a lapse.
We must consume. Yet over consuming leads to debt, too much debt leads to default, an economy on the brink of default is disaster, and so we are urged to fix it by… consuming more, hurry, buy more NOW!
I, personally, tried to stay out of stores between Halloween and Thanksgiving. In Target, I refused to look up and acknowledge the offending decorations that had been displayed weeks before the actual month of their holiday’s celebration.
I braced myself by avoiding radio stations that promised to kill any enjoyment of seasonal music by playing it over and over and over until it was as unwelcome as meatloaf served as leftovers too many nights in a row.
Once Thanksgiving came, I was prepared to welcome the next season. I desired to walk leisurely toward its celebration. But every day brought increased pressure to hasten, hurry, get ready. Though I wanted to walk slowly, I was caught up in the hustle and bustle, until the day finally came and went and then…..
It was over. Abruptly. Done. Now. It felt like a song that was interrupted by grabbing the needle of a record player and dragging it across the vinyl. You know the sound.
And the next holiday is thrust at us like a fork of food, before we have had a chance to savor, let alone chew and swallow, the current mouthful.
This frantic pace, like a piece of music played much too fast, is unpleasant. I enjoy an upbeat song. But when the tempo increases and increases and increases unrelentingly, at some point it ceases to be music and is simply noise.
My wish for you (and me) is a new year of melody with varying rhythms, a year of more music and less noise.
May it be so.