Thoughts . . . by Mark Rich

. . . scribbled . . . scrawled . . . trimmed . . . typewritten . . . grubbed up . . . squeezed from circumstance . . .

Monday, December 6, 2010

St. Nicholas Day

Some years ago, Gavin and Kelly at Small Beer Press published a little story of mine. It told of a bit of joy-finding ... an awakening that happened to fall on a St. Nicholas Day.

I keep having that story come to mind at odd moments. I tell myself I should do more with those characters, that setting, that time ... not in a way that would disturb the original story, but in a way that would move onward with the lively spirit that had led that that story's writing.

St. Nicholas day holds a pleasant place in the calendar -- marking the awakening of the mind, perhaps, to the onrushing eventuality of the deep solstice.

Quite by coincidence this morning I set myself back upon tasks that I had set aside oh-so-many months ago. Back then, I suffered the mad delusion that I ought to shoulder a co-op's rescue. Then, some weeks ago, it became clear that I needed to un-shoulder what remained of the task, and to return to my old, simpler life. Among other catching-up activities around home and yard, I put my working office into order.

This morning I finally sat myself upon an old wooden stool, dusted off a pencil, and, in preparing to begin in earnest my old task of new writing, I checked the date that I might jot it upon the page -- and saw the date to be December sixth.

This morning, too, Martha put out some laundry for me to carry up to our village's small laundromat. I undertook the minor task, and read history while the clothes were turning and churning. I could hardly help noticing, though, a publication left on the table by zealous proponents of some religious stripe or other. The publication concerned itself with the burgeoning numbers of marching atheists.

The publication's title was Awake -- which made me smile, since it made me think again of my old St. Nicholas Day story, here on a new St. Nicholas Day.

Was the pamphlet in favor, or opposed? I never checked. As a believer in not believing in beliefs, I believe I could have cared less.

Tending to daily duties on a fine, wintery St. Nicholas Day, I folded fabrics and walked homeward with quite minor but quite distinct satisfaction.

Cheers ...

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