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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

It is older than me, taller too.  The silver tree, aluminum fronds, plain pink and silver ball ornaments.  Just the right kind of ornament to reflect the changing colors cast by the slowly rotating color wheel a few feet away.

I have not put the tree up in years.  Not since I became afraid my youngest would damage it when he became angry, as he often did.

2020 has broken lives, families, and created a historical scar on this planet.  People die that should not.  Souls flee failing flesh. I cry by the numbers.

The holiday spirit is in short supply for me this year.  My neighborhood, and this small town, has more holiday lights up this season than I ever remember.  The three-mile treed boulevard through town is festooned with lights strung on every tree. It is a sight. Light a candle against the darkness.

A week ago, I clambered high up in my garage to find the boxes holding the tree pieces. The light hardware and ornaments are stored in a Norbest turkey box. 

The silver tree and the Norbest turkey box are characters from a bygone era.  When companies handed out turkeys to employees as a seasonal boon and aluminum trees standing amid cotton clouds were the latest thing—well over 50 years ago.

Tonight, watching the tree, green to blue, to yellow to red, I remember the first year I was allowed to hang a ball ornament using both small hands, on a shiny limb. I recall the family parties by its light, then the teen parties I had.  One day, years in the future, I coincidentally stopped by my parent’s house on the day they dropped it at the curb for the garbage. 

Those people, that place, are gone.  The years of work, marriage, children, divorce, and youth long gone. Decades flash by.

Tonight, the scratchy sound of the color wheel is familiar.  Maybe working a bit harder given its age, but I understand. The tree and aluminum fronds stand straight, shiny, and untarnished. It is as it was when I was five.

I was not sure why I put the tree up this year, although the angry child in question is grown and gone.  Given the ignorance and infectious zeal that has taken and transformed our lives, I had thought to sideline the winter holidays in deference to the darkness. At this moment, I quietly understand the tree came back to open a window to the past, and perhaps the present, as it is all any of us really have.

I see the tree now as I did then.  My life is lived and the colors still change.  I remember.

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