I thought it appropriate to end 2009 with a post that reflects the Christmas season - while paying tribute to distinguished craftsmanship, artistic sensibilities and vision.
A friend once confessed that he was dreading Christmas because he felt very lonely, and this holiday triggered a longing for real friendships perhaps as much as he recognized he had none. While his statement was surprising, I interpreted it as a profound need to connect with people, and experience a sense of belonging.
Such statements - and such longings - resonate with me and, while they may come across as dramatic, I love the profound and meaningful friendships that I have been only too fortunate to have come across and cultivated.
Christmas, for me, marks a time to pause, to reflect and to believe in the possibilities of rebirth and renewal (Christ's birth in Bethlehem so long ago remains a powerful symbol of hope in a better future). It is also a time when we renew our stock - symbolically or effectively - with gifts that are strong symbols, in my mind, of the spirit of renewal and renewed hope. So it is in this spirit that I picked "Zabavushka" as the perfect Christmas item.
Russian for "fun", "Zabavushka" is a composition of references to various children's games and heroes from children's tales. It reminds me of the coffers of toys I always imagined children to have (I was never that lucky) that open up to reveal entire universes hidden away by a simple lid. While many toys are universal (the train and locomotive, the castle, the horse, the rider, dolls and lettered cubes), the design equally contains elements that make reference to specific Russian traditional folklore or fairytales, artfully inserted throughout the scarf (the matryoshka dolls, the ornate turkey, the horse rider and the dancer). The assembly of all these elements is somewhat disorderly, perhaps symbolic of the contents inside a toy chest. Given the busy design, this scarf is more appropriate for someone with a strong sense of self who wouldn't shy away from displaying it.
Thanks to the rather incongruous design, I loved the message this scarf sends: despite a mishmash of messages and items, perhaps even dissonant gifts, Christmas is a time to celebrate and to find comfort in folks thinking of us, sending love and thoughts our way, and even finding sometimes the perfect little gift to uplift our spirits.
2009 is coming to an end, and with it we choose to remember - or forget - the events that took place throughout the year. An end means also a new beginning. As our hearts fill with joy, as the hours shine more brightly and as our hopes blossom, may we all welcome 2010 with renewed energy and optimism, and enjoy good health, accomplishments and inner peace throughout the new year and beyond ! Happy New Year !