I’m writing this post while Nora Jones sings her song December.
“December, come to me,” she croons. She’s asking for snow and sun. She’s promising to carry December home, to take the month away from the loneliest place it’s known. She promises to do this if December reciprocates. “Take me from the loneliest place I’ve ever known,” she sings.
I’m wondering about this double negative of a lonely month and a lonely person helping each other home.
In junior high on the day winter break started, a group of us walked home exuberant from being let loose from school. The snow was falling and we wanted to do something, but this middle time of definitions being smashed and reconsidered, of no longer understanding everything to be black and white and instead standing, cowering, and sinking into the gray, made it hard to decide just what to do with ourselves.
“Sledding!” a boy yelled out.
“Sledding!” the rest of us cheered.
All of us ran home to put on snow pants that were too small, shove our feet into boots we told our parents we were too cool to wear, grab sleds from our garages, and bolt to the nearest hill.
It was just like kindergarten that afternoon-turned-evening. There were no cliques, no “who likes who.” We were all friends, laughing and holding out gloved hands to help each other so we could climb up the icy hill again.
It happened again in college, in the thick of finals and fighting the December gloom of going home to a place that we now understood wasn’t our only home anymore. Someone would tuck a cafeteria tray in her winter coat, a sly smile would form, and she’d wink to those of us who saw her. The rest of us would follow suit.
You can’t worry about core subjects or packing or even home while sliding down a steep hill. My memory is that all there is to do is laugh and scream and feel the December air, perhaps carrying you away from your lonely places.
Maybe December needs us to show all the beauty it holds in its 31 days. Maybe we need those 31 days to show us ours.
Poetry: Write a poem about sledding or another December tradition.
List: What 31 beautiful December things can you write about?
Letter: Write a letter to December, the month that holds the longest night, but that hopes for all of us to watch for the light.
Browse more poetry prompts
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