Thursday, December 11, 2008

Something in the air?

Maybe it's because I'm a Detroiter, but this year there's a different feel to the holiday season. On a drive through the area last night, my significant other, Bob, commented on the lack of Christmas lights on the houses. Most years it seems that every house has something festive-- something to push back the darkness, something that looks warm and inviting on a frigid wintry night.
Of course, there are the dark and vacant windows peppering even the most affluent streets this year. It's hit everyone in the area in some way or another. I know of at least six lakefront homes in the general vicinity (not my closest vicinity!) that were listed for over a million each before the bottom fell out and the owners were evicted.
In the poorer sections of Detroit, the empty houses are often falling down or boarded up. Mostly they don't even bother with the boards any more.
The middle ground between poor and rich is the hardest hit.
Out here in Oakland County, the foreclosures are more subtle than in Detroit, but still easy to spot: they're the ones with the orange or white stickers on the windows that say "Warning! This house has been winterized. Do not use plumbing!"
On the way home from the mall, I counted over a dozen before I gave up. A columnist I know commented that it feels like the whole city is teetering on a precipice. Well said.

I think when we hit this time of year with its longest night, and even more so, when it feels dark in the day, the thing in our DNA that makes us celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa-- the thing that makes us celebrate hope, comes forth. It searches for the image of light and love wherever it can be found.

I have an orchid plant Bob gave me about five ago last September. Since I have a notorious black thumb, it came with his promise to water it as well.
For the last four years, that little orchid has taken it upon itself to bloom on Christmas eve. And bloom it does, like clockwork. The buds are here again this year, getting fuller by the day. It seems to say, hey, don't give up. Look at me! I'm still here. I'm doing what nature made me to do. I have hope.

I intend to take my cue from that little orchid and do what nature made me to do. I will turn toward the light and bloom. I will celebrate hope and love and Christmas and the season of lights.

Happy holidays everyone.
Susan Goodwill


Jess Lourey said...

We do need to celebrate and find that hope that keeps us going through the long winter nights, Susan. For me, it helps to remember that we're all in this together. It always feels good to help someone else, but it's particularly important when there are fewer twinkle lights out, fewer visible reasons to be thankful. Thanks for the visual of the orchid!

Mark Combes said...

Being optimistic and hopeful is hard work. It is so much easier to be pessimistic and negative. Especially with the gray skies and freezing temperatures and governors selling senate seats.

I'm with you Susan, I prefer to look ahead with a hopeful heart.

"There's just too much to see waiting in front of me,
and I know that I just can't go wrong."

Joe Moore said...

"It seems to say, hey, don't give up. Look at me! I'm still here. I'm doing what nature made me to do. I have hope."

Well said. We must all take inspiration from your words and look to tomorrow. Thanks for a great post, Susan.

Terri Thayer said...

Lovely, Susan!

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Lovely post, Susan.

I live on the edge a very affluent area and go through it to and from work every day. It, too, has fewer lights and displays this year, and many of these gorgeous homes have for sale and for lease signs posted. Even my apt. building is having trouble renting its couple of vacancies as people are staying put and not going through the expense of making moves.

But hope, whether it's in the form of a beautiful orchid, or the smile of my brand new great niece, surges on. We tighten our belts, encourage one another, and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

G.M. Malliet said...

Thank you for this post.

I have so many blessings I can't count them all and I try to keep them uppermost in mind when the financial news gets scary. Reminders like flowers coming into bloom help.

This year, instead of a Christmas tree, we have a newly planted Fat Albert Blue Spruce (I am not making that up). Albert is wearing a ribbon on his head and nothing else. It may be the most beautiful Christmas tree we've ever had.

jbstanley said...

I'm with you, G.M. I feel as though I've got nothing to complain about. Every day I hear more folks talk about losing their jobs or feeling as though each day might be their last. Stores are becoming empty and For Sale signs are springing up like weeds across the lawns. All we can do is try to look for orchids and to give one to those in need when we get the chance.