The long way around the sea

Christmas is a complicated time for me. On the one hand, I love the holiday—tree, lights, carols, smiling kids, what’s not to love?

On the other hand… the weeks before and after the solstice are the hardest weeks of the year for me. I’m prone to fits of the Black Dog at odd times but it hits especially hard in these dark days of the year.

I’ve been reading Comet in Moominland to The Boy for a few weeks. He didn’t quite get hooked on the Moomins with Finn Family Moomintroll, but the narrative sweep of the journey of Moomintroll, Sniff and Snufkin (not to mention the Snork Maiden) to learn about the approaching comet and then try to get home, where “Moominmama will know what to do,” seems to resonate. And last night I found an image that resonated for me within its pages.

The wanderers are on their way back home but are challenged on the journey because the hot approaching comet has boiled away much of the water. This is a subtheme for a few chapters, which talk about streams running low, until they get to the ocean and find it’s gone.

They can’t cross the ocean on a boat—no water. They can’t cross it on foot—they’ll get mired in the muck that was the ocean floor. So they cross it on stilts.

It feels like that sometimes. You can’t get down too close to things because you’ll get trapped in the muck. So you have to approach them at a distance, or else (as Low once sang) take the long way around the sea.

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