According to this morning’s paper, summer is about six weeks late — and it feels like it. Waking up to another day of leaden skies, I feel a lethargy bordering on dispair. And it’s Monday!
Now that the boy-child is no longer a child (and I may actually have to find another pseudonym for him), the impetus to manufacture Christmas has largely disappeared. We finally dispensed with the tree last year (we are all slightly allergic to pine, and a plastic tree was always out of the question); Christmas cakes are no longer baked as there’s no-one much left to enjoy them, and none of us has the desire to spend hours in carpark traffic jams to visit noisy malls full of s**t we don’t really need. Gifts have become small, personal and often home-made, and I think we are all happier about it. This year I even outsourced the production of the family calendars (gifts for the grandparents) to online photo printing companies here and in the UK.
The main traditions that have remained are the boy-child’s advent calendar (who can say no to a daily dose of chocolate) and my need to have baubles around the place. Without a tree to hang them in, I’ve taken to filling large bowls and platters with tinsel and decorations. Sparkly and colourful, they are enough to remind me that’s it’s Christmas and that I really should go and buy some cards for the persistent souls who still send them to us.
And if I sound like a Grinch; well perhaps I am. Without the anchor of Christianity, this particular holiday has little meaning for me. I hate the appalling commercialization that equates spending with caring; and without extended family around, I can’t even lose myself in the notion of seasonal familial bonding.
I think my little family a trois is secure in the bonds of mutual love and Christmas for us is becoming a time to look outward to see how fortunate we are. One in four children in New Zealand live below the poverty line. For a country that long prided itself on being a place of equality and opportunity, this is utterly disgraceful. This Christmas, as in the past, our family is supporting the Auckland City Mission, which has a long tradition of offering a positive Christmas experience to those who would otherwise have none. The Mission hosts a free Christmas Lunch for around 2,000 people, provides around 3,000 food parcels and distributes about 7,000 gifts to children — as well as providing a huge range of services the other 364 days a year.
So I’m going to enjoy my baubles, and look forward to seeing how innovative my boys (and I) can be in creating gifts out of love rather than cash.
Like most former British colonies, New Zealand has an abundance of Victorian and Edwardian-style public parks and gardens laid out in formal, symetrical arrangements of lawns, flower beds, gravel walks, and very often a central and very ornate fountain.
Dove Myer-Robinson Park – more commonly known as Parnell Rose Gardens – in the Auckland suburb of Parnell, is a lovely example, containing numerous beds of flowers other than roses, alongside the extensive rose gardens.
Many of the rose varieties are cultivated by internationally-known rose breeders, and one could spend an awful lot of time checking out the enormous variety — if one knew what one was looking for.
A park’s not a park without a fountain.
And the title of the post … well for those who have never heard this song, all I can say is that you make me feel old.
I’m feeling very bleak about the future of “society” — in the sense of a functioning human collective — as opposed to a seething mass of shit-headed individuals trying to take something from everyone else. I read this and thought “I’m not alone” and “this is way more articulate than I could be”. And if you choose not to read the original (please do) try this:
“In other words — the moral of our story remains, and has always been — human beings. We lost sight of this often, distracted by flashing screens and offers of excellent deals, but as Kropotkin and Weil believed — at our core (be it evolutionary as with Kropotkin or spiritual with Weil) we are the morals of our own story. It is as Grace Lee Boggs captured in her essay “Lets Talk about Malcolm and Martin”:
‘Love isn’t about what we did yesterday; it’s about what we do today and tomorrow and the day after.’ (Boggs, ‘The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activies for the Twenty-first Century, Berkeley, UCal Press, 2012.
Originally posted on LibrarianShipwreck:
When surveying the news of recent days, weeks and months it can be a rather troublesome exercise to ask the question: what is the moral of this story? Granted, not every story has a moral—the news is not a fable, after all—and sometimes the lesson to be gleaned is not a particularly uplifting one. Indeed, it may be a lesson that we had been certain we had learned so long ago as to make the retelling seem anachronistic. And yet, even if we are seeing the headlines courtesy of the latest technological innovations the content of those headlines is a reminder that we are not as far removed from yesterday as some would like to think.
From Ferguson to Cleveland to New York City – it is proving to be a brutally cold winter. On Tuesday, December 2, Americans were encouraged to participate in the festive showing of conviviality known…
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