I don’t know what it’s like in the place where you live, but, here in Winnipeg, the winter, for all its majesty, can be hard and brutal. I am not a spiritual person, but I do believe there is some sort of warmth and benediction from the lighting of metaphorical candles, the offering up of wishes and prayers. Here are some small midwinter invocations; I’m floating them out there into the long night, like invisible Chinese lanterns. I have no idea where they’ll land.
First, this is for all those who have found it difficult to sleep in these troubled days; who have tossed and turned, night after night, through the small hours of the morning as the wild winds of the world come howling and storming: may the choirs of good fortune lull you softly into the sweetest of dreams.
Then, this is for those who have waited too long to be seen, because they refuse to push others out of the spotlight: may your glories, so long concealed, finally be revealed.
This is for the keepers of lost, dying, or often-unheralded arts; those who devote themselves to labours of love, and toil in obscurity—the glassblowers, calligraphers, neon sign makers, poets, luthiers, playwrights, window display artists, shoemakers, dancers: may you live a fruitful life, with inspiration always at your elbow, and may you see your legacy rewarded. Never forget that science and technology can display the magic of the world and leave footprints on the moon, but craftsmanship and beauty can display the wonders of the heart and leave footprints on the soul.
This is for all those who continually give us the gifts of comfort, security, and joy in countless ways: the cooks baking casseroles and pies in their kitchens; the singers of songs in smoky cafes; the mechanics fixing radiators and headlights so we can get home safely; the doctors and nurses helping to heal a child’s lung: the environmentalists working so hard to heal our planet: may the good you do for others be visited upon you in return.
This is for the lost and lonely, who have wandered so far, heartbroken and frightened along deserted highways, through inclement weather, feeling homesick for a place you’ve never been lucky enough to have lived. Trust me, I know how long the road has been. There are wolves. The nights are dark and cold. But always remember that every journey has its rewards. Here is my fondest wish for you: May you find your way to the cabin door of the Light-hearted Beauties. I know they won’t ask any questions. Hang your coat by the door. There’ll be food in the pantry, soup on the stove; their kitchen table is wide and scarred with use. Lamps will be lit, and music will be playing. Warm your feet beside the fire. Offer them a song, or offer them a story; I know they will be grateful.
Finally, this is for the strong-minded and the gentle-hearted, the melancholy and the frivolous, the fearless and the frightened, the warriors and the clowns, the angry and the joyful, the disillusioned and the dreamers, the new arrivals and the dearly departed: may you know, somewhere, somehow, that you have added your own resonant, gorgeous voice to the immortal chorus, that you have lived your life well, exactly as you should, and it has never been in vain.