Christmas Letter 2008

Written by  //  December 15, 2008  //  Nicholson musings and messages  //  No comments

Green – the color of hope, health, renewal, growth and nature. 

Symbol of the promise of renewal that accompanies the winter solstice, the stately, symmetrical evergreen standing straight, reaching for the sky, evokes our abiding confidence in the future rooted in the past, offering shelter in a barren landscape. In Nature, it is a beautiful, awe-inspiring and reassuring point of reference. 

We confess to equal affection for the ‘tarty’ siblings in all their finery who grace the hallways and public rooms of huge buildings, the salons of mansions and  much more modest accommodation, casting a warm glow from strings of lights, glittering ornaments and garlands of tinsel.  Doomed to a brief  existence, they radiate cheer throughout their moments of glory, and we imagine, bask in the admiring affection of all who view them.

We are tempted to draw parallels between the character of the imposing leaders of the arboreal pack and their bejewelled, flashy relatives, and the humans around us, but fear we might tread in politically incorrect waters (which, of course, we never do), so will leave it to you to create your own images. May you enjoy both varieties in your live, with all the qualities they bring. 

Throughout the northern hemisphere, the evergreen has a particular significance at this time of year, when the winter solstice marks the turning point towards ever-increasing daylight. Soon our world will again be green. It is a time of renewal, hope and change.

There is snow on the ground, with more swirling about us (somewhat like being inside a little glass globe after it has been given a particularly vigorous shake), with temperatures and wind-chill factors plunging. At times like this, we suddenly abandon our opposition to greenhouse gasses and begin to pray that the policies of the about-to-be-late-and-unlamented George W. Bush might prevail, and our particular part of the world grow warmer in winter. Rest assured, this is a passing aberration and we remain committed to political and societal – not climate – change. 

Change, a word that has echoed through the presidential campaign of 2008, becoming a reality of which Americans of all political hues should be proud. Advances (changes) in science, medicine and technology continue at an unabated rate, leading to cures of diseases, improvement of crop yields, development of cleaner, efficient energy alternatives and inspiring hope for a healthier planet. Would that change in human nature were as evident.

Change implies departures and arrivals. Sadly, each year dear friends and family members die or become incapacitated. As each departs our circle, we inevitably feel not only a sense of loss, but a sense of missed opportunities – those things we should have done together, the conversations we never had, the feelings we never expressed. It is a painful, but valuable lesson that friendship, like a magnificent tree, must be deeply rooted in rich earth and carefully nurtured, with some trimming of twigs and branches, and grafting of new growth. This we attempt to do.

Accordingly, we take joy in new friends, the rediscovery of old ones, the accomplishments of all, and above all, our own far-flung family’s happy summer reunion, with the accompanying renewal of love and pride in those we hold most dear.  

Change can be difficult, as the world has witnessed throughout the past year’s extraordinary financial crisis. We have read and heard economists and pundits dispassionately discuss the events – ABCPs; the demise of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, world-renowned brokerage firms and banks, even the auto industry; bankruptcies and bailouts; and now the Madoff Affair – but in the end, it is people- individuals, families and their hopes and dreams – that have been shattered by the greed and corruption of the marketplace. 

Our wish for 2009 is that change may come with wisdom for those who must make the decisions that will guide the world to political and financial sanity, and accordingly provide the basis for stability and a sustainable future for our families, friends, colleagues and mistreated planet. May fresh new ideas and approaches be introduced and adopted. May new generations be encouraged to bring sparkling new solutions to the problems that beset our world. May we learn to live with and embrace change

Change can also be positive and joyous, challenging our attitudes, thinking, way of doing things -perhaps even our values – and allowing us to develop hitherto unsuspected talents and traits. This is the change we wish for you and yours throughout the coming year. 

And – like the stately evergreen – may change be rooted in the fertile warmth of friendship, health, peace of mind and Peace on Earth.    

Diana (Mouse) and David

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