This little countryside valley is aglow. Christmas lights twinkle in windows far earlier than usual. Villagers say “bring on the festive cheer.” They adorn their gardens with wicker reindeer and cast walls alight with Santa stencils.
Sleighs take off into the night. They pass inflated snowmen on their way to the cosmos, and Copernicus, my canine companion, is thoughtful about the situation.
“Do you imagine,” he woofs, “people need to find that inner warmth. You know. The kind that comes from carols, tinsel, and eggnog?”
We stare at our neighbor’s Christmas tree. I look for the star at the top. Copernicus eyes the branches for festive edibles.
“I expect they seek the spark of love and gratitude Xmas brings,” I answer. “They are wounded by corona-fear and insecurity, and they recall at Christmas, for a few days, they forget problems and rejoice.”
Copernicus glazes over. He sighs and turns to me to say, “not everyone thinks like that about Christmas. Some people and their dogs live outside. They are alone even when pandemics aren’t afoot. Some lonely people live inside too. Family surround them, yet they’re still lonely.”
“You’re right,” I answer. “Such a wise collie.”
Copernicus speaks: “It’s best to carry that Christmas feeling the whole year. Only, build it from thankfulness and then pass it on with kindness.”
We walk on under the moonbeams. The chilled air billows as we breathe. It won’t be long until we’re safe indoors by the fireside, so lucky to find comfort and joy.