Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Mexico

The reason I was delayed in a Holiday Post was because I went on vacation! Hurrah!

My mother and I road-tripped to New Mexico, Land of Enchantment.

It's a pretty nice state. It has a dry beauty, much like a person who spent their whole life working outside is beautiful. We were there in wintertime, but you can see color through the sepia brown of everywhere. I liked the landscape. The wildlife, while we mostly saw birds, was pretty cool. We saw so many sandhill cranes, and a roadrunner!

I also like the culture. I got the impression that the locals where the kind of crazy like Minnesotans are crazy. Not so much pride in and appreciation of the state as it is spite, because who else could survive there? Why do Minnesotans tough out -40 degree weather, or New Mexicans suffer through 120 degree weather? Because they can and they're not going to give in!

I also appreciate the prevalence of the Native American cultures in day-to-day life. While Minnesota has adopted some of the indigenous culture into mainstream, like wild rice and landmarks, New Mexico took it to a whole other level. The architectural style of the pueblos is extremely common in all sorts of buildings, and traditions such as a 4 day long Christmas celebration, or silver and turquoise jewelry are everyday sights.

We had a wonderful trip, and I'm glad we decided to explore the New Mexican corner of the US.

It's the Holiday Season

For most people, the holidays are pretty much over. I didn't have the opportunity to make a holiday post though, so now will have to do, while Kwanzaa and Hanukkah and New Years are still relevant.

I always say "Happy Holidays." A lot of Christian people don't like that. I am not Christian, so I really don't care that some people think I should put the "Christ in Christmas," or remember the "reason for the season" (although, really, the reason for the season is the tilt of the earth's axis causing the northern hemisphere to be at the farthest point away from the sun. Ergo, I think celebrating the winter solstice is most appropriate).

But I still celebrate Christmas. I like to celebrate the social reasons for a winter holiday: having a reason to gather with friends and family when the bitter chill of winter makes you want to be anti-social and never leave your bed; SAD prevention; the chance to eat really rich, heavy food at the best time of year to do so; being forced to acknowledge your appreciation and love for the people in your life at the time of year when you are probably crabby from the weather.

So, I celebrate with everyone, regardless of their celebration, or reasons for celebrating it. Why bicker about the details when we are all celebrating goodwill and peace? Will the card you receive in the mail be less meaningful if it's from a Mormon? Will the chocolate taste any less delicious if the chocolate-gifter is Jewish? Is the return to the daily grind after a long weekend any less painful for the atheist?

We're all children of the world, with stress and struggle. Why not wish each other well, even if we believe different things?