- All place names are collective fictions, even though the modern world likes to believe that naming magically makes real. No bird or fish recognizes “Huntington”. Imaginary lines outline legal jurisdictions, but a guide is needed to locate “downtown.” The North Pole is a dimensionless dot over drifting ice with no boundaries at all.
- When I was a kid, the North Pole was both magical and real. Santa worked there. Now, I suppose, children realize he has been displaced by eminent domain and natural disaster, his outmoded factory dismantled, his elfin workforce _ unable to use iphones let alone make them_ laid off. He’s probably lounging on a beach somewhere in Costa Rica, while Mrs. Claus reminisces over old photographs of the polar domain.
And, on occasion, myths
- Various names were applied to this hill by native American tribes, by colonists grazing sheep on the South Down, by wealthy Mr. Brown who never got to use his gold coast estate, and by priests remembering Father Coindre. Nobody pausing here to enjoy the view cares. Come a few hundred years, this may well become Huntington Reef in the Gulf of Connecticut. By then, the North Pole too may be long forgotten.
- All is transient and personal. My Huntington, my North Pole, is not yours. Whatever we may share of the conception of each is further restricted to our time and place. This scene changes, its name also changes, and we are brief but important visitors. Yet somehow I also think it natural that Coindre Hall, like the North Pole, like I myself, has always been and always will be as it is this moment.
elative that and nothing is simple any more. I want simple again.”
“Bah, Humbug!” I move on towards the dimly sounding traditional songs echoing tinnily from speakers, ignored by everyone.
- No touch of North Pole around here. It might as well be May, roses still blooming, the migratory ducks somewhat confused by the unnatural heat. Most seniors quite happy for the delay of snow and ice _ all the romance went out of white Christmas with the blizzards of last year. Some no doubt regret putting their boats away, but the buoys are safely stored as always. Hard to tell if it is climate change or just a nice unusual December.
- I’d lay bets on climate change. I appreciate the warmth and the chance to stroll in light jacket without heavy hat and gloves, but I keep looking behind my back. I feel like one of those naïve folks rushing out onto the newly-exposed glistening sea bottom to gather treasures, ignoring the ominous murmur of the distant but onrushing tidal wave.
- Our world expands as we grow, sometimes too much. The certainty of the North Pole and all it implies, complete with Santa Claus, gives way to provable knowledge or a willingness to accept lack of knowledge. We find, along with that, that others do not share our legends, backgrounds, hopes, and goals.
- Nostalgia is in some ways a desire to become once again as certain in knowledge and belief as a child. Everything was much easier when things were clear. We may not recognize that the changes are in us, in how we perceive. I wonder why everybody cannot be just like me.
- Some claim we have, as a culture, become too sensitive, too aware, too relative for our own good. That is certainly the fundamentalist creed in any religion or politics. Traditionalists shout that hanging on to the myth of the North Pole, objectively true or not, has social value. Such myths help bind tribes together, and make us civilized, at least within our tribe itself.
- Unfortunately, leaving childhood is exactly like leaving Eden. Colorations and differences in the world and its peoples are real, whether we choose to be aware of them or not. Ignoring our differences is not useful to survival, but trying to understand and accept everything and everyone is equally destructive.
- Once upon a time I knew, as surely as I visualized Santa’s workshop at the North Pole, what was the right way to live and how to be. Now, I am less certain, and even less sure I will ever find any certainty at all.
- This sleigh at the Halesite fire department looks like it may have trouble getting out of the rapidly growing grass. The real one up at the North Pole is probably facing slush, pothole puddles, and crevasses into the arctic sea. If any of them do get airborne, they will surely be stuck the first place they land, dry roof or muddy field. Unless of course _ always possible _ a polar express wind whips in by month end.
- I’ve had a lot of fun with the North Pole this week, probably because it and Santa Claus are some of the least controversial of subjects. For or against, few seem to believe anything striking at the core of their being and beliefs. It’s too bad we do not have more neutral topics like that _ sometimes every conversation seems a potential minefield. I guess irritation just goes along with being fat and happy.