It takes about two feet of tangled, mangled, splitting packaging tape to get two small pieces for wrapping. And then two more feet, for two more small pieces. I am struggling. I hear a neighbor crying through the apartment walls . . . again. My injured hip really, really hurts. Focus! It is less than twelve hours until Christmas. Gifts need to be wrapped and delivered. More gifts bought after that. More wrapping. More mangled tape. The tree is not yet decorated. I have no idea what we are making for Christmas dinner. No cookies have been made!
But the grocery stores are out of my two main cookie ingredients. Many gifts I ordered didn’t arrive with the slow mail. I will deliver packages on porches or in doorways with masks this year . . . no hugs or kisses exchanged. A nor-easter is coming tonight. No guarantee of income this week. E-mails from my mother about many of her friends who are passing. A pandemic. The mangled tape ball keeps growing. It is closing in. There is no room! No room for peace, hope, beauty, or change. I have to run.
I get in the car and drive. The radio, which once was for music, is now for news. It’s almost always bad. I pass the beautiful white Congregational Church and almost simultaneously pass a man in camouflage walking as if in formation with some unrecognized flag. On this little country road, he is on a mission. Then I catch the shadow of a bird’s six foot wing span flying above. It is all so surreal.
I get to the woods where I can breath. In the snow I create a circle out of downed beech leaves, holly leaves, acorn hats, old curled fern fronds, partridge berry vine, and a holly berry. It is too much. It feels crowded and unnecessary. I take it all away except for the partridge berry vine and holly berry. It represents a very small space to hold peace, hope, beauty, and change. That’s all I have right now. And that is enough.
It is the time of year when many people celebrate a baby who came into the world where there was no room. But he didn’t need much space and was placed right in the middle of the chaos. I get it. This year feels like that. It is the end of 2020. We don’t need big fanfare this year. We really don’t need a big ball of mangled tape. We just need a little, tiny space for peace, hope, beauty, or change. That is enough for now. That is my hope for you.