jayellebee's Blog

December 10, 2010

The Doldrums

Filed under: Musings — Joanne @ 11:09 pm

     Drifting at sea with limp sails, longing to catch a stiff breeze, is no fun.  Ask Christopher Columbus.  In my younger years, I spent many hours – days, all told – bobbing without direction in an eight foot “El Toro” sailing dinghy.  I listened to fittings creak and wavelets caress the hull, while waiting for the return of wind that had rushed me to the far side of the lake and vanished.  I am not a fan of The Doldrums.

     December is the crazy-busy month.  Multi-tasking at supersonic speeds.  Search-and-Destroy shopping missions driven by the infamous List Twins:  “Wish” and “To-Do.”

     At least, that’s my normal December.  This year, however, December discovered me listening to walls creak as rain traversed the gutters.  No sense of urgency.  No anticipation of sugar-plum dreams.  I was flotsam on the Doldrum Sea.  I was up Christmas Creek without a paddle.  I was skipping stones on the shores of Scrooge Strait.  Something was missing, and I didn’t know what.

     I thought, at first, the problem must be related to this being my first Christmas as an orphan .  Perhaps, I reasoned, re-connecting with my parents on some level would help.  But the trip to deliver silk poinsettia blooms to the cemetery was non-productive.  No heavenly chorus greeted me.  No haunting words of solace warmed me.  No recorded carols consoled.

     I thought, at second, the problem must have something to do with being in a new home.  Certainly seeing the old, familiar decorations in a new setting would bring me to my senses like a smidge of smelling salts.  Nuh-uh.  Even a few new baubles mixed with the scent of fresh Christmas tree lot did nothing to brighten my mood.  Incense and Myrrh might work, but I’ve yet to find a Magi willing to part with a pinch.

     I thought, at third, snow might get me beyond “dis” and on to “gruntled.”  Really, what could be better than a white Christmas?  Mother Nature reached out to me in my despair and blanketed Nevada City with six inches of the spectacular white stuff!  My faithful dog and I frolicked in the bright morning light.  The world was good.  The world was quiet and gentle.  The world was . . . COLD.  Seems good ol’ Ma Nat didn’t know when to stop.  The weight of all that frozen fru-fru broke branches, toppled power poles, and caused an electric outage that lasted the better part of four days.  Bah, humbug.

     Most of the snow had melted by last week, and friends from the low-lands came to the hills for a visit.  We spent two days playing tourist, eating, watching movies, eating, laughing, eating, going for walks, and eating.  One highlight was the morning we spent at the Nevada City Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum’s Christmas open house.  The local newspaper, The Union, recounted some 300+ people (I believe a majority of whom were under the age of eight) shared that day with us.  The tall gentleman with his dashing top hat and basso profundo welcome set the tone as he held the door for all who entered.  Our foursome enjoyed a personal tour conducted by the museum curator himself.  Two particularly cute, curly-headed blond brothers riding the “Rail Bus” brought me a smile that lasted well after I lost sight of them.  Santa couldn’t have been better if his Ho Ho-s were iced in chocolate with white squiggles.

     I’m not sure how or why, but my melancholy mood is all but gone.  Perhaps those cherubs I watched took my discontent around the bend in the tracks with them.  Perhaps re-uniting my long johns with their fellow items of ski apparel reassured my body there is natural heat at the end of what has already been a long, frigid tunnel.  Perhaps I haven’t yet come down off my self-imposed sugar high.  Whatever, my sails are trimmed and I’m leaving the Doldrums in my wake.

     Wait.  What?  How many shopping day ’till Christmas?  Oh, man.



  1. Ah Christmas through the eyes of an adult. I love it Joanne and I can relate. I send my love to you and yours.


    Comment by nina bucchere — December 11, 2010 @ 11:15 am | Reply

  2. Delightful! I love the play of metaphor, the exploration of a familiar season “challenge” with humor. Good work, Joanne. And happy holidays!

    Comment by Jean G — December 11, 2010 @ 12:25 pm | Reply

  3. Just plugged into your blog (from the writer’s club page). You are a great writer. Loved your pizza/black ice and sailing submissions. Need to read more. We have just bought a cabin in Cascade Shores and will be up there frequently. I’m a writer from Elk Grove and looking for others of like mind. I will consider your writers club when we are settled. Love your work. Keep writing. Elaine Faber

    Comment by Elaine Faber — January 21, 2011 @ 10:29 am | Reply

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