Happy Holidays!

I tuned in to 99.9 this weekend to find the non-stop stream of Christmas music. This song, sung by the lounge singing great, Frank Sinatra, came around. How many people know the song “Happy Holidays!” is the flagship song of a movie called Holiday Inn starring Bing Crosby, Fred Astair and Margorie Reynolds? It was actually the movie which gave “White Christmas” its start.

But that’s beside the point. “Happy Holidays” as a song, is talking about a whole calendar of holidays which find us happy and celebrating the days of importance year-round, not just this one month or two of holidays. 

The vast majority of November found me on quarantine. I got exposed, got symptoms, but never tested positive. As a result, I had to wait out our state’s 10 day quarantine while the person I got exposed to recovered. Then I got an additional two weeks confinement, one of which I ended up paying for with my own vacation time, which isn’t the end of the world, but I would have preferred spending that time someplace other than home.

In the grand scheme of things, it was good for me. Besides the lingering fatigue from Covid, I had been running hard since June, racking up a sleep debt that I never seemed to recover from. Two to four times a month, I’d run 24 to 55 hours straight without sleep. At best, I’d get an hour or two in that span. Over the course of a few months, that adds up and takes its toll on mood and brain function. I’d recommend trying it sometime if you don’t believe it’s that bad, but I wouldn’t wish the results on too many people.

But anyway, at least I got a chance to catch up and to fully participate in NaNoWriMo for the first time in about six years.

I chose to work on a story set close to home here in the Turtle Mountains of North Dakota. While I’m confident the story is a good idea, I’m not sure how much of it will make it into a final product. In part, it has served as an outlet to vent many of the frustrations that have built up over the last several years without laying bare particulars about individual people. Defamation is generally frowned upon, but I’m usually torn between not caring and not wanting to kill my writing career while it still struggles to get off the ground. 

Partially, the intensity of forcing myself to write every day wore me down, but it was also the realization that I miss summer and I missed out on summer. While masks were not mandated here in North Dakota, all summer entertainment was impacted. The State Fair was canceled for the second time since its inception in 1966. All theaters were closed, leading to the permanent closure of The Botno in town. So for day-to-day entertainment, the state park and lake trails were the only option for getting out and enjoying the world. Now, staring out at the kaki landscape with barely enough snow to qualify as encroaching winter, I miss the color green and the heavy, muggy air on my skin. I miss shorts and tank-tops and hanging out at the beach. I miss biking and hiking in the woods! 

I know the new year is just around the corner and we are catching the first glimpses of the light at the end of the Covid tunnel. I have to focus on that. All of us do. How else can we survive a year like this?


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