Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Reef At Christmas

It seems that at this time of year my homesickness peaks as I struggle once again with a cold white Christmas.  I know, I know...you think I'm insane, isn't a white Christmas the jackpot?  Well, yes, it certainly is beautiful, and all the images of Christmas that we see make sense when I look out my window, but in reality Christmas is different all over the world.  There are loads of countries where Christmas marks the beginning of summer vacation, Australia being one of them.  I guess it all depends on what you grow up with.

I remember childhood Christmas' spent in the coastal town of Torquay, Victoria.  We'd spend Christmas eve running around the back yard while Dad tended to the BBQ and mum laid out a feast of salads, fresh tropical fruits and cakes.  We were so excited because we were allowed to stay up to attend mid-night mass. Once we got older we started the tradition of coming home from mass and opening one gift from another family member, just one! 

I remember trying to fall asleep, giddy with excitement and anticipation, restless from the heat of a hot summers night, listening to the crickets chirping and the waves lapping up on the darkened beach. I could hear laughter and music drifting through the air as the calidescope of holiday makers celebrated the season in true Aussie style...bonfires, bbq's,and beer.

Christmas morning was always an early start, as it is all over the world for families with children. We'd race in to wake Mum and Dad, who would both linger in bed, trying to stretch out the excitement that little bit longer.  The joy of gift-giving was intoxicating, but as a kid, receiving was even better.  Our presents usually included swimsuits, beach towels, flip flops, buckets & spades, and the occasional a bicycle or go cart.  We reluctantly put our gifts down to march off to church yet again before heading either home or to a relative's for a spectacular Christmas lunch with hoards of family and friends.

After our midday feast was respectfully devoured we'd all gather up our buckets, spades and beach towels and head off to the beach.  By mid afternoon the sand was ablaze with heat and adorned with families.  All the grassed areas above the beach were packed full of extended families cramming under the shade of gum trees.  A chorus of BBQ's sizzling away as topless, beer bellied fathers would whack cricket balls around with their kids, while Mum's and Grandma's would sit happily on their fold up-chairs sipping wine and chattering away, grateful that they didn't have to cook a roast on such a hot day.

My head is full of glorious summer Christmas memories, but none better than the long evening walks along the beach at the end of Christmas day.  Dipping our feet into the cool water, feeling peaceful and satisfied with our lot in life, ready for bed and feeling the excitement creep up on us once again as we thought about doing it all again on Boxing Day, with the other side of the family.

What are some of your childhood holiday memories?

I've shown snippets of this page before.  It's a prismatic mandala of my beloved memories of the reefs that surround my homeland.  It's done in Twinkling H2O's and ink.  My workshop for 21 Secrets is called "Wisdom Circles" and is all about infusing these sacred circles with your memories, dreams, and desires. Click here for more information.

Thanks for checking in. xx