New year, old wisdom

In all the years I have lived away from my own country, there has only been one Christmas I have done away from home (in Italy), quite simply because I love Christmas in England.

As I sat waiting for a bus to the airport in a terrace bar by the sea in the blazing Andalucian winter sun, in a fine 17 degrees C, it was nice. But it did not feel like Christmas at all. Christmas for me is about the whole mood and feeling I get, it is about the cold, about finally digging out my gloves from their drawer-coffin where they lay all year and slinging on my big fir-trimmed Kenny-South Park parka jacket from the wardrobe once back in England. I couldn't wait to see the city streets lined with Christmas decorations and lights, dotting between the shops that stay open late in to the crisp winter dark where the lights take full effect and rule the night.

I love Christmas in England because I get to see all my family and my friends who I have grown up with. It is food and drink and lots of merriness and partying.  It is a special time for me. This time I took one of my favourite books with me - Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee - to reread the various separate chapters in those quiet moments usually before bed or on the plane or public transport. It is a book like Gli Spiriti non dimenticano (my overall favourite book), that sought out my passion for the story of the Native American Indians about 10 years ago., even if as a kid I subconsciously already had it embedded from watching the NFL and supporting the Washington Redskins (despite the almost derogatory term...) because of the Indian emblem on the helmet. Of course sport comes in to it, that is me all over.

So it is with two Native American verses that I would like to start this new year, they are the closest things to resolutions I will ever make and wise words I try my best to and follow:

Oh great Spirit, grant me the serenity to accept those things that cannot be changed, the courage to change those things I can change, and the wisdom to understand the difference.
- Cherokee Prayer

See to it that during your life you do not deprive others of happiness. Avoid causing your fellow beings grief, but on the contrary try to procure them joy whenever possible.
- Sioux Proverb

Happy New Year to you all.


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