Thursday, December 24, 2020

'tis the season to be silly

We do some silly things during the Christmas season.

That is not a criticism. Life needs a bit more silliness all year long. And, even though Christmas celebrates an important event, it is filled with unlimited possibilities to take our inner-silly for long walks.

After spending almost a full year of listening to people indulge in taking themselves far too seriously, it is time to let the silly times roll. And that is exactly what we did last night in our villages by the sea.

There is an ancient tradition here (started, I believe, one year ago) to tart up boats in the Christmas finery of lights and blow-up toys and to then form a sail line around the bay giving the impression that John Waters had stepped in for Admiral Nelson at Trafalgar.

I missed last year's production. But people have told me it was well-boated.

The virus has affected a lot of holiday functions this year. The boat parade was no exception. My friends Joyce and Gary invited me to watch the parade from the deck of Papa Gallo's, their restaurant in San Patricio Melaque. It was the perfect place to watch the spectacle.

We could see the boats entering the bay from the lagoon. There was a first boat -- a second -- a third -- a fourth. Nelson would have praised their formation. And then there were -- no more. Just four. But four was enough, even though two of them suffered periodic wardrobe malfunctions.

My malfunctions were just as evident. I had taken my Sony NEX-6 along with my longest telephoto lens to capture the event. I also knew shooting moving objects at night is difficult. So I set up the camera as best I could.

What I could not change is the fact that, at almost 72, I find it difficult to hold my camera with its long lens steady. I discovered that to my cost while trying to shoot the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction earlier in the week. When I looked at the results of my parade shots this morning, I was not disappointed because the blurs were exactly what I anticipated to see.

The photographs add to the gravity (measured in minus degrees) of the occasion. They are just as silly as our well-spent evening. We all laughed and clapped and hooted in appreciation for the silly moments that had entered our lives. And we were the better for it.

Sure, there is a serious side to all of this. It is not a coincidence that lights are displayed so prominently this time of year. People understand the importance of light and its symbolic power.

That is why Hanukkah with its miracle of the undying flame, Christmas with its birth of the light of the world, Diwali with its celebration of light over darkness, and even the pagan celebration of the winter solstice and the return of the light are centered around the power of light.

But we take nothing away from any of that if we also allow ourselves to celebrate that which is silly -- and to draw joy from it.

I have no doubt that God laughs when we tell him our plans, but I am just as certain that our laughter and enjoyment of life please him.

Have a silly Christmas. It may be just the remedy to pull us out of ourselves. 

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