I close my eyes
Only for a moment and the moment’s gone
Dust in the Wind, Kansas 1977

There is a darkness that can accompany this festive season. Call it depression, grief or even destitution, but whatever form it takes it is unique and individual to the person living through it.

For some it may be a moment of melancholy, a remembering of Christmas’s past, of relatives missing from their usual spot at the table. These moments can be fleeting or they can carry the weight of the world, crushing down. While for others is can be a devastating emptiness that gnaws at them, chewing away the light.

Whatever form it takes, we have to push back. Somewhere deep inside each of us we must find that last vestige of strength to push back at the darkness and help those that can’t do it on their own.

Believe it or not, even in the darkest moments a little light shines through. Consider it our safety line. We have to bask in its glow regardless of its brilliance because that is living. As bad as our lot may seem, there are worse out there; people whose hearts are irreparably shattered who need us to be strong and lead them back to the light.

For some reason this season lends strength to that darkness but I choose to see past it, to revel in the moment because if I worry too much about what has been or what will be, I lose out on what is.

Yes I have my darkness, dealing with an ailing parent and seeing the patients in the hospital drives it home, weakens my strength of will about my own mortality. Mortality is something I find scarier that any monster flick on the big screen. It is a demon that stalks my sleep, and haunts my waking moments.

Seeing my own mother in the hospital bed looking frail or hearing about some madman tearing little lives from their parents arms is like gasoline to my fear. I know it could be worse, that I am lucky to still have both my parents, my family.

I try to see past my fear, to see what I can control, and as much as I want to control everything, to fix everything, I am only one man who can barely keep his own darkness at bay let alone pushing everyone elses back as well. But I can’t help but try.

So I try to capture moments, see them as the glittering diamonds they are.

In today’s age of over consumerism and rushing from one spot to another, we often lose sight of what is really important, we hurry ourselves down the path, we bypass the small towns and scenic outlooks on our corporate, electronic, monetary freeways. But it’s the little things that really matter.

Like the blue of a winter dusk when the air is pregnant with snow. That time after the sun has set but before the light bleeds out of the sky. Before the headlights come on. When Christmas carols drift softly from the speakers and a destination awaits, a room full of writers creating worlds and people with wonderful voices. But for the life of me, I want the drive to take forever, to stay in that moment. It’s like everything aligns, there is harmony in the very air.

Or the drive up to the cottage, where green trees blur into a palate of summer hues. The lake awaits and yet two angelic voices sing along to the radio. Two sisters, my daughters, whose love of music infuses their essence and spills out at every given chance.

Or sitting in the living room, Bing Crosby crooning to the snap of the fire as we blur our eyes to make sure the lights on the Christmas tree provide even coverage.


If I could bottle these moments, I’d clutch them tight and close until my arms hurt as much as my heart does.

Maybe this time of the year draws the darkness because this is the time of the year I feel we are the closest to our past as we ever will be. Our traditions are not just decorations and tinsel, candles and toys, they are vessels chosen specifically to hold our memories. Each one tells a story, each one rounded and yet sharp with the tang of loss. The ghosts that haunts need not instill grief or fear, they should be embraced because they are close to us again. We see their faces, hear their laughter echoed in the voices and faces of our children, in the tinkle of bells, in the flicker of candle flame.

So, no matter what faith calls you, no matter what your lot in life, remember to take time and live in that moment. Hang on to it as long as you can. Revel in those around you, get drunk on the scenery that surrounds us.

There is magic in the air, we just have to take a deep breath and see it.

In the words of Bing Crosby;

Christmas is children who just can’t go to sleep
Christmas is memories, the kind you always keep
Deck the halls and give a cheer
For all the things that Christmas is each year

Merry Christmas
May all your wishes come true

Christmas is carols to warm you in the snow
Christmas is bedtime when no one wants to go
All the world is tinsel bright
So glad to know that Christmas is tonight

Ah, Christmas
Merry Christmas
May all your wishes come true.

Merry Christmas everyone! May all your wishes come true.

About Dale Long

Writing ambushed me from the shadows. At first I pushed it aside as nonsense, but luckily my wife and two girls saw the potential. Since then I have had an article published by Metroland, placed as runner-up and in the top ten in humour writing contests and various other contests. The icing on the cake was placing as runner-up in the WCDR's Wicked Words contest (130 entries) and having my entry published in the contests anthology of the same name. My entry was an exerpt from my upcoming novel, Echoes.
This entry was posted in The Word According to Dad. and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Moments

  1. Beautifully written, but you should really put a disclaimer at the beginning that this post may not be safe to read at work. I wouldn’t want your other readers to end up sniffling at their desk like I was 🙂

  2. Thank you for that poignant and heartfelt Christmas piece, Dale. You wrote from your soul about the mixture of joys and sadness at this time of the year. I can totally relate. And you made me just slow down and remember to feel all that comes my way, but to accentuate the positive as much as possible. May your holidays be blessed with the joy of loving all surrounding you. And may you find the strength to look past your mother’s illness to the essence she has brought to your life. All good things to you and yours this wonderful season!

  3. Diane Dooley says:

    That was beautiful, Dale. Thank you.

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