The desert is alive in December. For those of us who grew up in cold climes, it seems surreal to be soaking up sun at the same time Mariah Carey is belting out carols and dreidels are spinning. But all that vitamin D in the day and cool Mojave breezes at night is a welcome […]
Story Doug Schnitzspahn
The desert is alive in December. For those of us who grew up in cold climes, it seems surreal to be soaking up sun at the same time Mariah Carey is belting out carols and dreidels are spinning. But all that vitamin D in the day and cool Mojave breezes at night is a welcome respite from the darker side of the holidays. This time of year can be notoriously hard on many people, with the short days bringing on depression and the call to be happy and close to family triggering difficult and deep-rooted pain.
Last month was a tough one for me, personally. A friend lost her young daughter. In the same week, I received news of another friend’s passing as well as the news that yet another friend, the poet Chris Ransick, lost his battle with pancreatic cancer. All that loss made me remember how little we control life, how all we can really do during our brief time here is treat other people the best we can and love with all our hearts.
We also lost Gert Boyle, the “Tough Mother” who ran Columbia Sportswear ever since her husband suddenly died of a heart attack in 1971. She worked every day at her company in Portland, Oregon, past her 95th birthday and participating in business meetings the same week she passed. Gert was famous for wry one-liners and she was an American success story, running her company from near bankruptcy to over $3 billion in annual sales last year. But she won’t be most remembered for hilarious commercials, like the one when she put her son through a car wash sans car to test a jacket, or for the quality of the ever-popular apparel she put on so many of us. She treated her employees, and even people like me, like family (even if it was with a touch of tough, sarcastic love).
Whether the holidays fill you with sadness or joy or an odd combination of both, you can find love and give love. And if you need some time to think it all over, head out to Joshua Tree, walk into the desert and just embrace the beauty of being alive.