How come everybody is always in a godawful rush to get places, to do things, or to meet people? It seems like some days we are all ships passing in a narrow waterway, not quite brushing each other but close enough to see the whites of each other’s eyes. Then we’re gone, and they’re gone, off to whatever’s next, our worlds suddenly divergent like a forked path in a wood. I’m left wondering what might have been. If the future hadn’t intervened early, displacing the present and disregarding the past.
Today was one of those days when I noticed it more than most. People doing their shopping for Thanksgiving, for Christmas, and for Monday night, all convergent in one place at one time, but moving swiftly around each other and around me, like we didn’t exist. This seems somehow wrong, this disregarding of others in search of… stuff. That’s what this world comes down to, isn’t it? Stuff. Money is stuff. Toys are stuff. Electronic gadgets… stuff. It’s all stuff, and it beats out other people all the time anymore.
I used to love this time of year because of the joyous spirit, the spirit of thankfulness, the spirit of forgiveness, and the spirit of giving. It was lovely to see everyone doing something wonderful for everyone else. Even strangers used to pass you on the street or in the halls of the mall and wish you a good day, they in their woolen caps and thick scarves, with accents from every which place, but one big, happy community of kindred spirits in one place at one time. But we’re not in that world anymore, at least not from where I stand and survey the land.
Maybe if I stand in one spot long enough and wave to people they might rediscover the spirit of the season. Or maybe I’m just fooling myself, living in nostalgia at a time when that’s all it will ever be.