Sunday, December 25, 2011

It is I, Yaro, With the Christmas.

What is Christmas, after all, but an idea? Of course its historical place varies for us in this country. It's a holiday. It's St. Nicholas's grand day. It's all presents and stockings and sales on televisions. It's the celebration of a distant birth freighted with impossible meaning.

Ideas. They are what I traffic in, in my world. I have them. My young charges do not. At semester end I ask myself if I have transmitted enough of them to earn the right to return the next term. (And I have so far always found my way back.)

This place, this academic water cooler, is an idea, too, of course. Really more of an idea than a real place. We examine the world through lenses uncommon. It's not the real academy. It's one we use to fret the ones that exist.

I put the lights on Mrs. Yaro's lovely tree. I think of the three kings and what they mean. I find myself frozen in place, in a warm light. I think of a little boy who lived in this house long ago who is with us no more, taken on a winter day in 1984. It was at Christmastime.

I would think that would color the season forever, but it hasn't. The smell of goose. Tinsel. What a word. It is glorious.

That the Christmas at times has been nothing but a savage reminder of our bitter loss - for it is Mrs. Yaro's, too, though I only truly know my own. And at others, a peaceful, beautiful time of remembrance.

In the same way my teaching has at times been only a job, a place to ply a trade. And other times, my vocation, avocation, an absolution, an empyrean endeavour.

I am all wind up this evening, lacking the pitch. I am not sure where this meditation is to go.

At this time of year my colleagues have mostly struggled to the airport to travel, abroad, or to family homes, or to warmer climes.

But Mrs. Yaro and I watch the fire and think of one baby born and one lost.

I have telephoned my family and friends tonight with hale greetings. I have told them I love them and miss them, and look forward to when we next meet.

And I thought to look in on all of you, for despite the modern and disconnected format of our community, I feel attached to you as well, so kind you have been to welcome my occasional tale.

And I send you my best, Yaro's, upon the evening, the season, and the Christmas.

I am yours,


  1. Yaro, you make our shared CM a better place. Words fail me as I try to express my condolences for your and Mrs. Yaro's loss. May you enjoy a holiday free of the annoyances that we discuss on this page. All the best to you and Mrs. Yaro,


  2. O Yaro, I was just sitting here on Christmas Eve, alone, the first one in my life without my mother in this world. My kid is sleeping and my partner is delivering a midnight mass, and I was overcome with sadness. Then, there you were. A dear comfort -- the only person I know who is electronically beloved.

    I am so sorry about your little boy. That is the worst loss I can imagine, one time can never fully heal. Yet I wish you and Mrs. Yaro as much peace and love as you bring others.

  3. Yaro, my heart leapt when I saw your name on the post. I know that the accolades of strangers can never hope to compensate for your loss. However, I cannot help but think that not only here, but also in your real-life classes, that you have made such a significant contribute that your memory shall live on. Cold comfort, I know. Blessings to you.

  4. May God's grace shine upon you and yours, Yaro. Merry Christmas.

  5. OMG, Yaro.

    Like nearly every other morning, I'm the first up in the house.

    Of course, this morning, after being bombarded with relentless consumerism since Halloween, and after a night of quiet, simple family traditions (church, a drive to look at our favorite lit up neighboorhoods, oyster stew and "A Christmas Story"), everybody else will be stirring a little earlier, and with a little more energy. So I'm glad to be up a my normal time.

    Because if anybody else were up with me, they wouldn't be able to tell for sure if I were smiling or wiping away tears.

    I've known others who have experienced similar loss, and can't comprehend how they ever moved past that. I can't imagine a bigger test of faith.

    I hope you and yours enjoy a new year full of the gifts and spirit of today...


  6. Merry Christmas, dear Yaro.

  7. What a full heart you have, dear Yaro.

    And your sentiments about the day ring authentic and true.

    Merry Christmas to you, friend.

  8. Merry Christmas to all.

    To dear Yaro, much peace to you and yours.

  9. Dr. Jekyll: A posting from Yaro is a wonderful Christmas gift.

    Prof. Hyde: Bah! My evilness is powerless against Yaro.

    Dr. Jekyll: Well then, just say "Merry Christmas".

  10. Yaro, again you move me to tears. Tears of joy at the holiday gift you've given us, tears of sadness for your loss, and tears of frustration that I cannot put my own feelings into words as well as you can.


  11. The best Christmas thing I've read this year. Thank you, Yaro,

  12. Merry Christmas, dear Yaro. I'm glad the bitter has been tempered with some sweet for you, and please know that none other has more helped temper mine than you all up in here.

  13. Dear Yaro,

    I'm sorry to hear of your loss.


  14. I send you all my best.

    Thank you, Yaro, for sharing your career and life with us.

    It's a human endeavor, surely, and no one is moreso than you.

  15. Ah, Yaro. I had intended to ignore CM, and most things academic (save a bit of writing), for a week or so, but I checked in on my university email just to make sure that none of my students had legitimate questions about grades, then popped over here to find your post -- lovely, as ever, and reminding us that we are, indeed, engaged in a human endeavor, where sadness and kindness and connection and doubt and recommitment mix in mysterious and often-unexpected ways. I am glad that Christmas still holds magic and delight as well as sadness for you, and, as always, am grateful to you for gracing this space with your presence, and your insights into our collective endeavor, and life as a whole.

  16. I wish you a peaceful holiday season, Yaro. Like your family, my own was also touched by loss at this time of year, so the period between Thanksgiving and New Year is bittersweet. Your poignant words hit my heart in a way that I cannot express, but others who have felt it at "the happiest season of all" understand all too well.

  17. Ah, Yaro, you break my heart and give me hope. We live in so many moments, all at once. Warmth and light to you and Mrs. Yaro, my virtual friend.

  18. Wishing you a lovely holiday, Yaro. CM is a much more civilized place than it would be without you. Thank you.

  19. Yaro, you have touched my heart again. I am so sorry for your loss and Mrs. Yaro's.

  20. My kids are about to go to bed. They're what it's all about for me ever since we had them. Thank you for writing at Christmas Yaro, and reminding us all what it's for.

  21. Dear Yaro, words fail me. I fall back on platitudes.

    My father died on leap day, so I only have to be reminded every fourth year. I pray for you and your lovely wife, and for your family, who are reminded of this every Christmas.

    May the One who came to heal our sorrow be with you, now and always.


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