Christmas under the Bedsheets

Happy New Year to all our blog followers. We will miss our friends in India for another year, and sympathise with the local merchants who must be suffering due to the lack of tourism. A good friend who managed to get back to Gokarna in South India says the pilgrims and Indian tourists don’t make up for the loss of another season without westerners. Four-week visas with one week quarantine are not appealing to travelers of our ilk.

Two western friends still in India, live in the Auroville community, which has grown exponentially since its beginnings in 1968. Covid has had little impact to life there. But once again Auroville has erupted with internal conflict.

This time, over a road project to connect the four different zones within the compound. The consequences of this ‘progress’ include the destruction of the forest, its planting begun over 50 years ago. The opposing point of view is ‘leave well enough alone’. Our friends say that if the divisiveness continues, they’re prepared to move on.

Losing a loved one around Christmas adds insult to injury. Two good friends just lost their mothers, stirring up memories of my own mother’s passing at Christmastime when I was eight years old. After her death, we never had Christmas at home again. From then on, my father, brother and I spent the holiday with relatives. I celebrated beneath the bedclothes, singing carols and creating the Christmas I’d lost. One clear Christmas Eve, spotting the evening star for the first time, I was convinced I was seeing the same star that guided the shepherds and kings to the baby Jesus. (Growing up in England, the sky was rarely clear enough to see that star!) Since my mother’s passing, His birthday for me has also been associated with death. And I can imagine my two friends who’ve recently lost their mothers will have similar feelings.

With all the calamity in the world right now, it’s easy for me to miss the beauty that’s right in front of us.

At dusk, the other night, Gerard and I walked through the Boston Common and Garden to see the Christmas lights. How magical the city can be! For a moment the world lost its sorrow in the reflection of the twinkling lights.