Christmas Conflation

Mt. Tam and wires. 3/28/12
Mt. Tam and wires. 3/28/12, a dog walk no-run night in suburbia.

Since I currently live in close proximity to the desirable and lovely city of  San Francisco, it seems to perplex many why I choose to not live in the city proper. It’s one of those topics that comes up in mundane, obligatory, work function, internet date type chit-chat. It’s the kind I especially loathe, where no one is actually listening to anyone but themselves and so things that are meaningful to you don’t get adequately represented or appreciated. Like why I live close to a mountain instead of on a cramped city block.

I live close to a mountain because I need that mountain. I need to come home from my city job – a job that I do love, appreciate and am inspired by – to this mountain and her trails and her trees and her quiet. I need it because when I start to feel that kind of city exhaustion that makes the tears rise to just below the surface, the only cure is a mountain. Unfortunately though, it’s also Christmas and everyone has lost their minds and that is impeding my mountain time. That and it’s dark at like 4PM.

As a general rule, I come down on the side of Christmas hate. I have spent many years researching this position, and feel confident that I am fine with it, even though there have been years that I actually succumb to the elusive, but oh so potent Christmas magic. I love the sparkle and romance and nostalgia and homecoming of Christmas, but I reject how our culture conflates happiness with forced gift giving while then producing endless songs, stories, TV specials and movies that say just the opposite, that it’s really all about the people you love, but we are all just nodding and winking that we know we are still expected to participate in this confusing madness that now starts the day after Halloween.

The past two days I have been feeling that Christmas funk; end-of-the-year projects at work are demanding and I can’t get it together to run on my mountain. I have insomnia, and I am cranky. I am really homesick. So, tonight, I walked. Not like this is a novel concept – I usually walk the dog whether I run or not – but I walked with the intention to be aware, grateful that I live near the mountain, and to honor that I chose to not live in the city so I could have a night walk like this.

I was promptly rewarded:

I saw a shooting star right over Tam, (it’s the Germinids!) and yes I totally made a wish. (Maybe I get extra Christmas wish points even though I am grinchy…)

And just for a bonus, a huge, beautiful Spotted Owl swooped right over me and Duke and into a nest in a 70 foot sycamore tree.

Thank you mountain, you took care of me tonight.


8 thoughts on “Christmas Conflation

  1. Lovely as always, Justine! I love night walks in peaceful places and don’t do them that much anymore, but you’re inspiring me.

    1. thank you Ashley! ahhh, night walks are really the best, and yeah, we get into these stubborn ruts when we don’t do them. they literally work EVERY time whether it’s trying to defeat stupid Xmas, or just to stretch your legs. sneak them back in I say… will make you smile. xo

  2. I love walking, just walking, and you reminded me that I haven’t done it in a very long time. As usual, you’ve nailed it!

    1. so so SO good for the soul. was thinking about it last night, that the reason I am a walker is from growing up in T-ride and Santa Fe and night walks are always just a joy. do it!! thanks for reading and commenting Kim!

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