The rains have chosen us. It has been five days straight now. All is grey. The rest of the world has disappeared. It is impossible to imagine, to escape. We will go buy a Christmas tree today. We tried yesterday, trudging through the mud. I was more interested in taking pictures of Rachel and Rhys than shopping for a tree, which pissed Rachel off, which in turn pissed me off. So, we drove to the store and bought bread and wine, which we took over to our friends' house for a delicious lamb dinner, where all seemed good again.
Now, here in the darkness before dawn, I sit and sip a coffee. I tell myself that I do not want a tree but I know that it isn't true. I just don't want to fight the mud and rain only to get the wet lumber first onto our car, then into our living room. All things are for the child now, all joys directed towards him. My life has dissolved into the unlit earth, lost in the rains. Yet, we are told that we are made of snips and snails and puppy dog tails. Three things that should be able to endure the rain, perhaps even thrive in it. It is the other: sugar and spice and everything nice... Those would fare far worse in this weather, one might think.
Perhaps I should not search for meaning in the half-remembered lines of children's poetry. It is disquieting, what we tell children. Then, we wonder and marvel at how they end up being so awful to one another, capable of the bitterest cruelties. I remember being told this poem often when I was child. Then, I had it memorized. I recall feeling resentment at being told how worthless I was, in what I knew to be an unfair and untruthful comparison. My mother innocently reciting it to me as if it were a time-tested truism, the wisdom of the ages.
Oh, what we do. The things we do.