It’s Santa Lucia Day, the same as all the other Santa Lucia Days, different from all the other Santa Lucia Days. That’s how holidays go.
I have the fragrant saffron bun to bite into this morning. This year I opened a package of dried blueberries early in the week, and they were perfect, huge and not at all sticky, not like the ones I’ve been getting, the tiny clumpy ones. They were like cutting open a fish in a fairy tale and finding gold coins. I looked at them and thought, “These are too good for granola,” and I shut the package and ate tiny clumpy ones in my granola the rest of the week so that the lussekatter could have the gift blueberries. To make my life a little easier. To leave a trail for myself in the long grey not-cold-enough nights.
Some years the dark time of your own heart doesn’t synch up with the dark time of the calendar. Some years you get through the dark of your own personal year early and have sort of got a handle by the autumnal equinox–not that everything is amazing, but that you know what you need to do next. You are coping with what there is. The darkness of your heart can wait around for later, and for now you can do the stuff there is to do and appreciate the stuff there is to appreciate. Other people around you have their own bad stuff you can’t talk about. Your bad stuff is still there. But some years you find a little bit of a groove. You find a little bit of light, just as the world loses it.
The lussekatter are important those years, too. Because there’s always darkness at some scale–you can see it, you don’t need me to tell you where. Your family, your city, your country, the world–it’s a messed up world. There’s always darkness to kick away at, always light to bring back to someone. It’s the work of the world, it’s what we do. So I sang the songs–gently–to remind the dough what day it is. I kneaded gently, I sang softly, and the blueberries were there because I had left them for myself, my bread crumbs, my white stones. And this year the bread is still for me, but maybe a bit more for some other people. And that’s a good way too.
Happy Santa Lucia Day.