It was not a parlor game. You know, what would you take if you were stranded on a deserted island? I really was here, alone, a drip of humanity in an unending sea. Usually, in the parlor game, someone says they would bring a book and not just any book. It has to be Ulysses. Right. Like I want to spend the rest of my days in a loop with Leopold Bloom.
So when the unbelievable actually did happen and I found myself shouting on a beach in who knows where, I was grateful that I was wearing my holiday backpack. Because if I wanted to bring anything to the rest of my life, it was the spirit of Christmas.
I sat down in the sand, the tide trying to calm me with its whispers, the breeze patting my face. There, there, what do you have in the bag? the curious wind asked. I unzipped the pack and pulled out: music. My phone had no bars, and Pandora was far away, but when I pressed a button, tunes magically lifted from the speakers and danced on the air. Carolers from Mariah Carey to Bing Crosby sang of mistletoe and sleds and wished me a Merry Christmas. Monks chanted in ancient cathedrals, and cellos and violins crashed with uncontained joy. The wind liked the music.
It tugged at my hair. What else do you have? the wind asked. I entered my pack once again and brought out: light. Strings of lights that stayed on perpetually even though I had no power grid on my island. There were my favorites, the twinkling white ones that smooshed together in my vision when I took off my glasses. But I’d also brought the multicolored variety because if you are birthing a whole new society, you don’t want to start off setting a policy of discrimination.
The mercurial wind demanded, “More, more.” I rummaged at the bottom of my pack and found: the smell of pine forest. Spruce deliciousness flowed into the wind’s arms, and it laughed. How wonderful, it cried. The wind played with the evergreen aroma like a ball of energy, spinning it, tossing it, lifting it then letting it shower down on me like rain.
Finally, in a wistful voice, the wind asked, “More?”
I shook my head. “That is all,” I said.
“That is enough,” said the wind.
Some friends and I challenged each other to write about three things that evoke the holiday season. What about you?
For more holiday reading, try “How to Make Your Own Holiday” or “Let There Be Light.”