I know–its just another day. The magic has long-since been lost, and the constant badgering of fake holiday cheer perpetuated by greedy retailers and incessant radio play of christmas songs has made today all that much more irritable.
on top of that, there has been the lingering dread that today would come and for the first time ever, my dad wouldn’t be here.
If life had a movie script ending, I would be held to believe that by the end of today, I would either a)find love b)get my dream house c)find happiness d)have my dad back.
The reality is–that on Christmas Eve, 2006, I went on a hike at Land’s End–at the edge of the California coast–from Baker Beach to Ocean Beach. I walked in bitter cold and watched the waves swirl and hit the coastline’s rocks. I watched the sky turn from murky gray to liquid orange, and watched as the sunset illuminated the trees and water and grass in a pinkish glow.
I looked far far out into the sea–where the delineation between sky and water became fuzzy–where the pink mixed with blue and became lavender. And I thought of Dad. How somewhere far far out there, inbetween the fuzzy lavender, he must still somehow exist.
Everyone keeps saying that after you lose someone, you have to make new traditions on days like christmas and thanksgiving. I think thats a stupid thing to say. A day like Christmas is nothing without tradition.
The moments right before the sun actually slips into the sea, are the most intense and glorious moments one can witness in the life of a sunset. When the sky burned bright, I remembered how my dad used to tell us kids that when the sky was this color red-orange, that Mrs. Claus was baking cookies at the North Pole. And suddenly, for the briefest of moments, I remembered what it was like to be a kid again–when I could easily suspend reality and hold onto such a ridiculous notion as being true. For 2 fleeting seconds, or maybe a fraction thereof, I felt that so-called Christmas magic.
The waves rose higher, crashed harder, swirled faster. The sky grew darker almost instantaneously. And just like that, the moment was over.
editor’s note 8/22/12: these photos were taken by my sister on the day referenced above.