I am surrendering to a temptation. As school breaks up for the holiday, an irrepressible cheer overflows from the corridors and from everyone’s cup of sentiment. It is impossible to escape the gaiety in the air, and the frankness of people’s good will. Few times of year compel us to better things more than these weeks at the end of December. Students knowing that a substantial vacation is impending add quite a bit of momentum to this feeling of festivity.
At this moment there is hardly a student left in the place. As it happens, I have a couple of projects on my desk that have already propelled me into the new year, but I can set them aside for now and enjoy the tranquility and the whispers of gifting and receiving that echoed in the hallways not too many minutes ago.
In another week, my wife and I and an extended crowd of family will gather almost every night around a big outdoor fireplace. We will even do this in the rain, because we have a big sun umbrella that works well enough in winter. I don’t get bored with outdoor fires. Their atavistic warmth is soothing to me. Behind me, however, will be the laughter and voices of other members of the family, a little younger, who have moved on to livelier things, even though it is dark. Whatever one’s tradition, it is the season of light, and I hope that its best meaning spreads to us all.