Monday, December 10, 2007

Have Yourself

So I made Christmas.

Not that it was Well Thought Out or anything.

I worked from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Ho(t)me(n) Depot and left work feeling drained and severely in need of a nap. And coming down with something. (Another reason I don't like winter here in the Northeast: I spend November through March either Coming Down With Something or Getting Over Something. Currently I'm Coming Down With Something, that seems to be manifesting itself as the worst sore throat I have ever experienced. As I write this, I pause now and then to take a bite of some nice hot buttered toast made with sourdough bread. Chewing it is a delight, but then comes the part where I have to swallow, and that's like a globule of molten lead at the back of my palate. I could easily devote this weblog to a Journal Of My Maladies, Illnesses, And Afflictions and I'd always have something to write about. But I won't. So enough of that.)

Anyway, so there I am arriving home from work. I took Faithful Companion for a walk, then grabbed a pair of clippers and set to work removing some of the lower hanging branches and boughs from the white pine trees that grace the Old Homestead. The windstorm we had last week knocked a large branch off the holly bush, so I brought that to my "staging area," the front porch. For the next few hours, I was busy festooning flat surfaces around the house with greens.

This is something that I've been doing since I was about eleven years old. I can remember my family marveling at my uncanny ability--akin to being "special" on Heroes--to place boughs of white pine on the mantle over the fireplace. I definitely have an "ability" there. I'm not sure how far "decorating for Christmas" ability will get me in life though. But I remember my Awful Ex, during the first Christmas together when I convinced him that we should have a tree, sat silent with awe and amazement as I threaded twinkle lights along the individual branches of our tree. "No bare spots!" I barked. At one point he asked if there had been a mandatory Lights class at my high school, to which I replied, "You mean you didn't get that going to school in Nashville?"

But the thing that really struck me this year was the ritual of the whole deal. I wasn't thinking, I was just doing. Le coeur à sa raison que la raison ne connaît pas. As though every lay of evergreen were pre-ordained from the dark recesses of the mist shrouded path. This is the way that Christmas is to be Done. And I do. Or did.

At a few points, the question arose in my mind, "Christmas for who?" After all, it's unlikely that my father would even notice, little less appreciate my efforts. And it's not like I'm expecting anyone to drop in for a nice cup of eggnog or some of my knee-bucklingly delicious Hot Cocoa. Chances are good that no one will ever see my Christmas.

But I'll see. And I'll enjoy. It's Christmas for me.

As with so much else in my life, I'm both the player on stage and the audience. And if I don't make it happen, it ain't gonna happen.

And I think it's a pretty good gauge of my well-being that I do do.

4 comments:

Xris (Flatbush Gardener) said...

I'm in the midst of the same seasonal construction. We've got two trees this year: one for us, upstairs, and one downstairs in the front porch, visible from the street, for public consumption and parties. It's not enough yet. I'm looking for garland.

It reminds me of this.

Anonymous said...

"Christmas" is in all of us. Bravo to you for decorating, even if just for yourself. May the peace of the season be with you.

Sam said...

xmas. the *other* autonomic function. discovered your blog a couple of weeks ago. enjoy it. thanks.

kiturgy said...

When i have a parish, i'll hire you to consult with whomever decorates at Christmas! Then you can do a tree at my house! It's something i haven't really managed in a long time, at least not more than 3-4 foot on a table top--dogs, cat, and kid proff, of course! (of course, part of it is tha i not longer really enjoy doing it myself, and enjoy even less taking it down, but if someone else set it up....