The Longest Day

I had a walk yesterday and timed it to end at 6:03 p.m., which is/was sunset for the day. I wanted to do this because I had read where scientists said that yesterday was going to be one of the longest nights in the entire history of the planet. Yep, that’s right. At first they were saying it was going to be THE longest night ever, but then they decided that it was sometime back in 1912 in which that happened. But last night was a very long, dark span. I slept deeply and much longer than usual. I had unusual and vivid dreams. Perhaps it was because my legs were like lead weights as I walked yesterday, or maybe it was just my imagination. That aspect of my personality doe run wild every now and then.

In some respects it was really kind of eerie. It was as silent as I can remember with the exception of a few dogs barking off in the distance. I closed my eyes as I walked down the long straight away next to the railroad track, almost an entire quarter of a mile, and tried to imagine how our distant ancestors must have felt in this season of the year. Sitting in a cave or at a rock overhang, with a tiny fire as the only heat and light. Straw as a bed, and perhaps a fur or two as cover. Hungry from not having enough to eat that day. Howls and growls of animals drifting in through the opening of their abode. A lot of them who would have considered us as prey. It’s amazing to me that our species is so tough. It’s remarkable to me that humans made it through that primitive phase.

We have survived all of that to get to this point. Now we are divided by religion and politics, along with race and class. These are the most divisive issues in our world today. Maybe there are some other “minor” issues, but these are the ones which continue to rear their ugly head. These are the ones which people are warring and dying over by the thousands every day. These are the issues fueled by the two “children” beneath the robe of the “Ghost of Christmas Present” in Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” He tells Ebenezer Scrooge:

“They are your children! They are the children of all who walk the earth unseen! Their names are Ignorance and Want! Beware of them! For upon their brow is written the word “doom!” They spell the downfall of you and all who deny their existence! “

Ignorance and want combined with all of the divisive issues.

We no longer sit in the dark in the caves and fear that we will become the prey of fierce animals. We ARE the fierce animals and we now prey on each other.

As we head into the Christmas Season after one of the longest nights in the history of the Earth, I wish some type of unknowable magic could be worked in the middle of one of these long Winter sleeps, and we would wake up at dawn as creatures of total love and peace….Peace on Earth, and true Goodwill to all men and women.

Mankind is our Business

…”but Jacob,” said Scrooge “you were always a good businessman.”

“Mankind was my business!” Said Marley.

And so it remains. Mankind is the business we should all be worrying about. Who doesn’t have enough to eat, or four walls to surround them? Who is down and out, and needs help? Who is hurting, either physically or mentally….financially or spiritually?

As my son reminded me, I only gave a dollar to the man who said he was homeless. But he did turn down my offer to buy him a meal at the Maple Street biscuit company….said he’d already eaten. And those biscuits are ‘spensive. I did, however, wish him “Merry Christmas” as I handed him a dollar. Then I went the next day and gave 20 dollar tips to the three young ladies who have taken turns waiting on us at Jim’s over the past year.

I consider mankind my business, oh so much more than most. And not just at Christmas either. I take Charles Dicken’s lesson to heart. Oh, I’m far, far from perfect. And I will never be mistaken for a philanthropist. I’ll muddle through by doing what little I can for my family, my friends, and those whose lives intersect with mine. I want to thank all of my family and friends, and the people around me for all the kind things they do for me. It’s mutual, and it’s a balance.

Merry Christmas if I fail to see you, or if I forget to say it again in the next two days. Merry Christmas and a Happy New year.