Uneasy Lies the Cap...Cont'd
his eyes from thought to thought. A deep
furrow became planted in his weathered brow.
"It was not long enough ago to
forget. I was crossing the Golden Gate Bridge toward Sausalito when I noticed an
older gentleman leaning over the handrails facing Baker Beach. I approached him
in curious concern, only to notice his hair was astir and his face was wet with
tears. It was Bill Freeman, who I'd known as Billy from his Christmas letters
long before. He'd become happily married, but lost his wife to cancer shortly
afterwards. They would often take strolls along the beach he now faced with an
emptiness that weighed heavy on my heart." Santa stared at the T.V., which
now was showing the image of the man on the bridge, and Santa's approach.
The televised Santa stood
motionless while around him night became day became night again, over and over,
flashing like an old movie. People and objects passed through his vaporous form,
unaware of his presence. Hundreds of desperate souls came and leapt, as Santa
stood frozen in time, backlit by the bright pulses of Christmas lights. Then the
screen went dark.
"I've not the power to lift
the heavy heart..." his wet eyes then opening to a sorrowful gaze.
"Every day I see the reparable miseries - the sick, the sad, the solitary -
yet I've not the means to cure them. I've found the mightiest ships trapped in
bottles, and yet I've not the means to break them free. I cannot scale the walls
of those imprisoned by guilt and shame and release them with salvation. I have
seen the spiritual poverties of fear and doubt yet I've nothing fit to
"Every year when Christmas
rolls around, I am reminded of my limits. I see the depression, the loneliness
and suicides, and I'm forced to ask myself how much of this I cause. Do I give
the unfortunate something to compare to?"
"These people believe as I do,
but their powers are far stronger than mine. They can speak, and touch and love.
Some you have met, you may recall; most you have not. They go about their lives,
undetected but for that fleeting moment of truth, when they have the power to
see through their weakness and unleash hearts. It is their small miracles that
give society hope. Where I may kindle the fire of hope in the imaginations of
small children, only they can keep the fire burning when the child grows up and
"I can only offer magic, not
miracles, and my efforts are taxed by people's wariness. I offer wonder to the
unrestrained spirit - to the innocence of youth at any age - and therein lies
the secret to my magic. My magic is the power of hope. But my magic is fading
"You're dying...?" I
"No, my son, hope is.
Society was once a clumsy child. It is now a spoiled child - it has grown to
adult without maturing. Technology allows us to steer our own destinies these
days, but our self-centeredness has taken the wheel. All things are purposeful
now: and purpose is without hope. Even you had come to me today for a purpose."
A single lick of flame swirled from
the fire and arched above me, disappearing over my shoulder. I turned back
towards the fire to see that it, too, had vanished, as had Santa and the shack
that had surrounded us. In my hands lay no jumper cables, only two fistfuls of
hand-packed snow. I was alone in the bone-chilling night of Arctic winter.
This was not good. I still had a car that needed charging, but all around me was a barren wasteland of snow and sky. My only company was the