Festivus greetings from the Edge of the Left

Hello my friend!
Tis the season ….again….seemingly cycling around increasingly more quickly every year. For me, the ramp up is always the same - the predicable subtle dread and contempt triggered by the commercial sales pitch that pounces the day after Thanksgiving, ramping up wildly the day after Halloween. Then by the end of November I feel myself softening and starting to get seduced by the twinkly lights (I am SO easy!) and the thoughts of the delectable down time that happens over the holidays - when the world seems to stop and all manner of relaxation and communing with friends and family is officially sanctioned. The full surrender seems to be marked by the evening we trim the tree and I swoon with the memory of each ornament.

About 20 years ago we started a tradition of giving a special one to Julia every year so each one has a story to it. Eventually The Transition will happen where Christmas moves from my house to her own (when I’m in a home staring blankly at a limp poinsettia). Such is the cycle of life!

And then, a few days after New Years it all feels SO OVER and I can’t wait rip the lights off the tree and drag the damn thing out of the house, so happy to be back to life as I knew it. And who doesn’t have moments of wondering, why the hell do we do this again? I’m not a Christian; we all whine about how we do not need any more “stuff”; some of my family members probably don’t even like me that much!; and yet… the tradition of it all is so compelling! We humans do love rituals and traditions. But of course, it’s all about spending time with loved ones – and just getting off the train for a week or two. It’s been wonderful. 

Frankly, I started this missive a couple of weeks ago, so now we’re in that great zone between Christmas and New Years. (Just barely she adds 3 days after she meant to send this!). My favourite of all times of the year. I’m going to share what arrived in my inbox today from one of my favourite writers – in song or otherwise, (and singers and flat pickers!) Jonathan Byrd – from South Carolina. If you don't know him, you should - he has a great new book of poetry out as well. This is from his newsletter a few days ago:

"Now begins my favorite part of the year- the days between Christmas and New Years Day. Take the clock down from the wall. There are enough leftovers to survive on. All the books I haven’t read. Firewood. Four wheel drive. Town is there if we need it. Bedtime is whenever we get tired. Morning is whenever we wake up. 

If we’re lucky, it’ll snow. That’s when the peace is undeniable, like heaven without death. That’s a day you remember when you’re old and senile and flipping through the brittle pages of your life. The steam from everything warm. The whiteness of the world. The laughter of children in the woods. Maybe you were one of them. Maybe you always were and you just forgot. 

I’ll see y’all on the other side of heaven. I hope this time is timeless for you too. If it’s not, I hope you remember when it was. That’s how it lives forever, right now."

I simply could not have said it better…

So my dear friend, I hope you are where you want to be enjoying what you want to be doing with the people you want to be with. And may we have a bit more sanity in the world in 2018 – a girl can dream. In my little world I will be recording a new album (YAY!) and playing lots of music - solo, with Julia & Kirby, with Barney and Tom, with the HIgh Bar Gang - all of it - to make it all just a little easier to be a human in the midst of all that entails. I hope I see you out there! When and where that could be in the near future is listed below.

As always, love to you,


Julia GraffComment