Merle's Blog

Insights and Outsights

Cape Christmas, Hug of Channukah, Seaside of Solstice

Posted by Merle Levin on December 21, 2011

There’s a festive air here in the mother city, as she is wont to be called. The Jo’burgers have driven down the tip of their country in droves – you can see them a mile away, driving slowly, watching the waves, choking up the windy roads of Cape Town. Empty parking spots have become hen’s teeth. Droopy, sweating Santas ring bells at the malls and beside the road sit a few dusty Pine treelets, begging to be bought. The venue for Christmas lunch must be beachside or if not, then definitely BarBQ. Channuka candles light up late, since sunset takes it’s time.

I who lived through 30 Canadian Channu-ristmases, am nostalgic for the frenetic crush of lights, bows and bobbles, gifts so lavish the wallet was left toothless. The pace here is, well…Cape-like, which means, heavy on the manyana, light on the anxiety. How can one worry about anything date-determined, when the sea is crashing, the moon is swimming, the days are endless? When the kayaks are out in full force, the sails are up, the yachts are sailing by. Did someone say this was 4 days to Christmas? Is this really the first day of Chanukah? Heck, I better put in some extra wine and fill the freezer. I’ll take the chocs to the hairdresser and bank manager and wrap the simple things for the kids. Mostly though, I’ll take a deep breath of the spirit of this season of friendship and giving. I’ll even tolerate the off-key trumpet- player practicing on the promenade at 6am ( by 9am I am saying mantras to help). After all this is Our city one and all – we are all in a festive mood together.

Today is the Summer Solstice. This means a long, languid day to sink all my thoughts into, of those I love near and far, Jewish, Muslim, Christian and Buddhist (a brief description of my family). To open myself into this open-hearted season in a fuller way than ever before. Where does world peace begin? Is the question I ask my ancestors – the ones with all the experience and wisdom. I get the sense they are pointing a finger at my nose. It begins with me, plain and simple. The message of Christmas or Channukah or Solstice means tolerance and understanding. It means forgiveness of others and the one to whose nose the finger points. It means stretching my arms to encompass more than I ever thought I could – of the good, the bad and the ugly. It means appreciating each stage of the journey and not focusing so hard on the supposed destination, whose goalposts keep moving out of reach. It means trust in that idiom I love to quote: The truth is true and all is well, unconquerable love prevails.

Thank you for reading this tossed-off scriblet. It sends me singing to know that somewhere, out there in the infinite internet, that my words reach ears. They come from this Solstice place in me which longs to reach out and hug my world and how amazing it is, that we live in a world where this is possible.
Enjoy the longest or the shortest – because come what may, take a deep breath and say… it’s solstice today!

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4 Responses to “Cape Christmas, Hug of Channukah, Seaside of Solstice”

  1. Batya said

    Like! Love!

  2. Wish you were here to enjoy it with us!

  3. Pamela said

    Your lovely words have certainly reached my ears. I thank you for the global hug, Merle. On this curve of the world, I celebrated our Winter Solstice by bringing in the light with 13 candles for 13 planets, and 13 affirmations.

    The visual you painted of the “mother city” … this must be an exquisite place to live!

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