The Body Electric

The Body Electric: Day Twenty-Seven

Tonight:

christmas

I’m home — safe and warm, after all my travels.  Rain patters softly on the roof.

I think back to the time I spent with family over the past few days, and to the way I gave my body permission to enjoy this holiday fully and completely:

I stood over a wide Wolf range, stirring and breathing in steam.

I sat at a long polished table with eight of my little tribe, and I ate.

I walked down from the house to the river.  Ambled along the water’s edge on Christmas morning, when a fog lay over the world like a white blanket –the opposite shore swallowed completely by cloud.

I curled up on the sofa with my three-year-old nephew, J.  Let him tuck his head under my chin.

I held my newest nephew, N, for the very first time.  Felt him go heavy and slack in my arms, his head lolling back to my shoulder in sleep.

And at church, on Christmas Eve, I stood in the crowd and sang Silent Night with one hand cupped around the golden glow of a little candle.  I took in the scatter of light across stained glass — the thousand voices melding — for the briefest moment — into one…

And I was grateful.

Not just for my spirit — the part of me for which the holiday was made — but for my body, which gives me a dozen other ways to experience the magic of it:  

In flesh and in bone.  

In star-dazzled eyes.  

Ears open to song.  

Lungs breathing in the scent of winter greenery.  

Hands laced into other hands.

Warmth on my skin, and in my heart.

*

And this — all of this — is good. ❤

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The Body Electric

The Body Electric: Day Nineteen

ukulele2

Maybe it’s just me, but lately I’ve been feeling like December is just … hard.

I don’t have any real emotional reason to feel that way:  no family drama.  No old holiday loss.  If any thing, I’m happy… But I’m also exhausted.  And I’m not just talking about my usual bouts with insomnia.  I’m talking about soul-level exhaustion that I can feel in my body, right down to the muscle and bone…

Too many parties.

Too much food and wine.

Too much sparkle, too much spending, too many colors, too much noise, too much drivingbuyingrushingwrappingtalkingtalkingtalking.

I don’t know … Maybe it’s just me.  

But I suspect not.  

*

Earlier this week, though, I tell T I don’t want to plan anything for this night.  We’ve had a double-booked calendar all week, but tonight … tonight I want nothingness.

So, halfway through our Sunday afternoon, we make a second pot of coffee in the Chemex.

And we laze around for hours and read.

We finish wrapping presents.

 

And I don’t know why, but at some point we dust off our matching ukuleles and decide we’re going to learn “Silent Night.”

*

It was September when T and I first took lessons.  Back then, I remember how awkward my little ukulele felt against my chest, and how hard and sharp the strings felt, biting into the tips of my fingers.  My hands never seemed to want to curl in the correct shapes.

This evening, though, I teach myself the simple chords, and after a few minutes of practice, everything just feels right:  the curved mahogany against my breastbone.  The gentle happy Hawaiian echo in every strum, reverberating through my skeleton.

As I play, I sing the old carol:  Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright…

And suddenly I feel that silence… That calm.

The room fills up with quiet even as it’s flooded with music.  

The hurry of the holidays falls away.

I feel the music in my body — in the muscle and in the bone – and I feel — for the briefest little moment –what it means to know heavenly peace. ❤

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