It's an odd little season, this week between Christmas and the new year. A feeling of disconnect, a neutral period between past and future, a hanging moment for a few days when our concerns – personal and public – are held in abeyance while our planet's most recent circumnavigation of the sun winds down and the next begins.
Even when I was still working, work seemed futile. Many people save vacation for this week so that phones and email go unanswered, meetings evaporate for lack of attendance and information for pending decisions can't be found.
Although retired now, I feel a similar sense of suspension and a strong disinclination to do anything of substance. I feel a whiff of melancholy about this period but I couldn't tell you over what and anyway, it's not serious; it will pass.
Most of the world is on hold for a week or ten days and the media spend this time adding up the events of the passing year, putting them in a semblance of order and, of course, predicting the events of the coming year.
I always mean to go back and see how last year's predictions turned out – I thought about that as I started writing this post – but I am too lazy today to make the effort. Maybe next year.
Newspapers fill a lot of space with – well, filler they have undoubtedly written well in advance of this politically becalmed week. My favorite this holiday was a delicious story at The New York Times on the chocolatieres of Brussels:
The reporter delivered about 2300 words on the chocolate district of Brussels and included a handy map of the dozen or so shops along with a spectacular slide show of all things chocolate in the Belgian capital.
The political air is relatively quiet. According to Roll Call's calendar [pdf], the second session of the 112th Congress will not convene until 17 January, the day after Martin Luther King Day, and I was further surprised to see that the Senate will meet for just seven days in January; the House for only six.
That seems too few by a large margin considering the important issues on the table including (among others) the short extensions of unemployment insurance and the payroll tax holiday that expire again at the end of February.
The first New Yorker cover of 2012 is equally dispiriting to contemplate...
...but I am feeling too lethargic to work up any high dudgeon over it or Congress right now. Even so, it makes one long for some warm and fuzzies, so from my friend John Brandt, here is Spike the Pit Bull vs. Visa the Kitten.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Mickey Rogers: Women