Friday, January 2, 2009

more holiday thoughts

More holiday travel thoughts.

There is something that happens in my brain this time of year, when i am getting ready to leave town, wherein I feel a sense of foreboding, as if I won’t be surviving the trip -- or at least not coming back somehow.

Beyond the obvious fears about modern travel in general -- four or five days before I left for Pennsylvania a plane skidded off the runway at DIA, thank you very much -- there is something dark and ... closing-off about this time of year. The fact that the shortest day of the year is very close to the day that we celebrate the birth of Mithras -- I mean Jesus -- might have something to do with it. There is an amazingly descriptive passage in a Neil Gaiman book, ‘American Gods’ in which he describes a Celtic rite of sacrifice at the time of the winter solstice in order to bring the sun back out. A child is kept in a cage and eventually killed in order to appease the sun god who is forsaking the tribe in winter.

Now, I don’t profess to know the historical accuracy of such a story, but suffice it to say that we can be pretty certain that human sacrifice to various gods has occurred throughout history. I think we Anglo-Saxon types would prefer to believe that such practices were limited to dusky, brown people on exotic non-European continents, and that’s what makes the idea that our Celtic ancestors might have done these things especially shocking.

However, I think it is interesting that I get a feeling in my bones that death or the end of this phase of life lies right around the corner, as I get ready to leave for Xmas vacation. (I’m back now, and no harm done, but it is still curious to me that I feel this way every year.)

Maybe I was a human sacrifice in a past life. Or maybe it’s just a damn bleak and unforgiving time of year, lol. I feel better now, though, and the days are already getting longer, thank Jupiter --I mean jesus.

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