Christmas evening in the garden. The sun has dropped low enough that I don't fear burning. Around me, summer lives in all its glory. The family game of cricket in the distance, hearing the whoops as an uncle or father is caught and bowled. The birds sit and chirp in the rustling trees, tui, kakariki, sparrows and blackbirds, occasionally swooping overhead, flashes of black, brown, green and red filling the air. Our neighbours garden, running the hosepipe over the parched plants, and pruning back the roses. Smells waft over in the breeze; roses, sweet peas, tomato plants and the roast lamb in the oven. The wind is cooling on my skin after the heat of the day.
This is so different to the traditional northern hemisphere Christmas with its dark evenings, frosts and sharp air. Since moving, I have found a different feel to the festival; Christmas is no longer an anticipation of the Earth turning, coming out of the darknes and towards Spring, but a joyful celebration of life around us in all of its glory. It is a reminder that we should not spend all of our time planning and looking forward to the future, but, every so often, take the time to enjoy the here and now.
This is something that I, a pathological planner by nature, am inherently bad at doing. So, my New Year's resolution, made sitting with a glass of wine, and finding the moment, is at least once a day to enjoy the present. What sprang to mind which illustrates this the best are the two verses that I first heard on the Divine Comedy album Promenade:
Happy the man and happy he alone,
Who in all honesty can call today his own;
He who has life and strength enough to say:
“Yesterday’s dead and gone.
I’m gonna live today.”
Happy the man, and happy he alone,
he who can call today his own:
he who, secure within, can say,
"Tomorrow do thy worst, for I have lived today."
(the end of the album, taken from Horace)
Now, if you'll excuse me, there is a glass of wine and a summer evening to enjoy.