O Tannenbaum, wie treu sind deine Blätter

Ernst Anschütz

The ‘leaves’ of the Christmas tree are faithful because they don’t shed. They stay with us all year round.

As do the apples that used to be hung on that tree.

Traditions change. St Nikolaus becomes Santa in the red coat. The ‘fir’ tree that preserved its colour and hope for growth and warmth even over the cold and dark winter months became the Christmas tree. And the apples became shiny glass balls in all sorts of colours. The ones that resemble the original apples are nearly gone.

The traditional song ‘Ach Tannenbaum’ became one of the most recognisable carols ‘O Tannenbaum’.

Next Tuesday is going to be the Winter Solstice marking the end of the long, dark nights and the beginning of the longer, more brighter days.

The message is very similar to that of Christmas which marks a new beginning with better days to come.

I’m listening to Us and Them. For the first time in decades. After all we’re only ordinary men.

Last week, an old acquaintance rang and we talked for a while. During that conversation, he reminded me of a quote by Arthur Schopenhauer:

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.

With some luck, we passed through the first two stages. Will the truth that even a person with a very severe brain injury has a right to live a happy life become self-evident in the New Year?

Traditions change. People learn. Days will soon be getting longer.

There are brighter days to come.

PS: A good friend reminded me that 2021 was the 50th anniversary of David Bowie’s game changing album Hunky Dory.

The title song of that album was Changes. Surely, a sign of things to come.