I’ve been spending time on the Bahamian island of Eleuthera for the past 7 weeks or so. “Spending time”—such a peculiar expression, as though time could be counted like pennies or pomegranates. Time is much more like taffy, in that in some instances it can seem to stretch and stretch, and in others, break off or shatter. My time here has had many shattered moments, some where the blindingly sharp sun and brilliant blues of the ocean have been more like make-believe metaphors than the cloth that clothes my days.
Let’s skip past wrestling with the quirks and questions of time and move more toward its standard December measure: Christmas. Alice and I will not be on Eleuthera at Christmas, instead stealing away from here just a few days before the date. At some level, I regret that, because Christmas in a foreign country, especially on an island, is just that: foreign. And that foreignness is a good reminder that customs and traditions are just arbitrary, where cultures that might share a holiday like Christmas, don’t share it in quite the same way.
In that spirit, I recently wrote a piece on an island Christmas I did experience some years ago, when we lived on a little stretch of land in Micronesia. Courtesy of Squidoo; look for the Santa wearing flip-flops.