In Other Words: ‘Tis the Season…and the Livin‘ Ain’t Always Easy

It’s December. “Holiday time” we always called it. The memories of childhood are illuminated as I recall the days when frivolity was in the air, and if we were lucky, snow days gave us a reprieve from school when sleds packed the big hills and children’s voices were the only sounds that filled the chilly afternoon air.

December feels different now. Quieter. Lonelier. Climate change makes it less frigid, and red mittens in the twilight worn by ice skaters returning home at day’s end to mugs of hot chocolate, are nowhere to be seen. The jubilation feels less jubilant. It’s a softer season now. I miss the sounds. The bells. The clamor. The jingles.

Vaccinations have allowed us to slowly emerge. But there are many who still tread cautiously in a world where the unvaxed walk amongst us, making the rest of us navigate the slippery slope of our own misgivings, uncertain of our environment. We are more aware of space and boundaries than ever before. And sadly, this is the time of year which once knew no boundaries. Getting back into life as we knew it feels like baby steps taken with trepidation lest we stumble. Lest we get infected.

Now in December, I look out my window at the occasional jogger in his fleece sweatshirt, the kids on bikes, the dogs on leashes, and the two children in the red wagon being pulled along by their dad. I cherish such views, each one a picturesque reminder of a time when the world was a safer place and we didn’t need to think twice.

I think twice a lot now. I still don’t feel safe. I am marooned in my own mindset filled with doubt, fear, and the knowledge that while we have loosened the reins, we are not yet entirely free. Freedom in fact, a most prized possession we once took for granted, has been put on hold.

An unvaccinated person I know bragged about sneaking into a theater without having to offer proof of vaccination. When I asked via e-mail how he had managed to carry that off, he simply and arrogantly shrugged it off with a laughing emoji by saying he blended in with the rest of the crowd, and thus became invisible. He made it through. Fooled them all, and hid behind his mask as though he had gotten away with something that can affect and infect us all. Or is my ire getting the best of me?

So, at a time when December once felt joyous and gay, it still feels a bit burdensome made so by the “delusional deviants” who refuse to “get vaxed” despite the fact that cases are on the rise again because the stubborn or naïve refuse the gift that is freely available to them.

I dislike writing such a column at a time when life should be filled with brighter thoughts. It is holiday time, after all. Some reading this will scoff, and dub me a crotchety Scrooge. But in my defense, I am merely just another triple-vaxed person, who wishes she could roam freely, and sip some eggnog without a care in the world.

My wonderful doctor reminds me I still need to play it safe. I take heed. She knows her stuff, and I trust her opinions and her expertise. She is not a fan of total isolation, but she knows when good common sense should be applied. So, I follow her lead.

But it’s December, and instead of being part of a crowd, I am a solo traveler in a still unsteady world. I wish it were different, and perhaps in the new year, the trajectory might change…one more vaccinated person at a time.

For now, I continue to peer out my window at a fading sunset, and while I am not that ice skater returning home on a late December afternoon, I do hold a cup of hot chocolate in my hands, and hope for better days ahead. Happy and carefree days like those kids on the hill, sliding down into a safer and more secure world when the holiday’s festive offerings shined brightly all around us.

Westporter Judith Marks-White shares her humorous views monthly in the Westport News. She can be reached via email at joodth@snet.net or at judithmarks-white.com.