river

It’s coming on Christmas,
they’re cutting down trees,
they’re putting up reindeer,
and singing songs of joy and peace.
Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on.”

A favorite all-year-round song of mine that holds deeper signifcance this time of year, to me. There is something about the wistfulness and wishfulness to skate away from all one’s mistakes and regrets, to skate so far away that they cannot catch up with us, and maybe then we can heal, or at least try to forget. But, as a girl from Southern California can attest, there are no frozen lake’s to skate on, unless you count the one in the mall parking lot a few blocks from my work, or others of that ilk, manmade and false feeling.

This time of year is hard on us sometimes. The expectations of cheer weighs heavy some days when all we want to be is allowed to feel sad. I know for myself that yesterday I had a moment, while decorating the tree, when I was overtaken by sadness. My breath choked in the back of my throat and the familiar sting of tears threatened to fall. I spun around a few times, pinched the inside of one hand, and tried hard to clear my breathing as I did not want my children to see me cry. The feeling was a surprise as there was no definable thing to pin the sudden sadness on, except that for a moment, one brief yet impactful moment, I missed those who were gone from my life.

The weight of missing, and of regrets, is sometimes too much to bear. Sometimes I think we all wish to skate away from it all, do we not?

River :: Joni Mitchell

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