December 1, 2013
It’s coming on Christmas
They’re cutting down trees
They’re putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace….
-Joni Mitchell, The River
I am going to participate in Melissa’s writing advent challenge, over at http://onetreebohemia.wordpress.com. I am feeling a bit daunted by the upcoming holidays, my to do list, my writing goals, and the stories that flood me this time of year. It seems like a perfect way to at least get something down every day. I stumbled upon her lovely blog this morning, and was taken by her beautiful trees in the header, and the gorgeous little bird picture posted for today’s writing prompt.
What images, ideas, and sensations come to mind when you turn the calendar page over to the 1st of December?
This afternoon was grey and waning, I stood out on our mostly dead lawn and watched my husband climb up a ladder planted on the spongy ground, reaching for the gutters to clip our Christmas lights in. I was “supervising” by occasionally holding the cord. Rick reached up and grabbed a handful of mucky leaves clogging our gutters and began tossing handfuls to the ground we labored to rake clean just a week before. I sipped my beer, noticed his nice ass, and felt mildly irritated as the leaves began to litter our bushes and small front stoop. Today, on the first day of December, performing this chore of the season, I found myself recalling a day in late December last year. In a surge of resentment and deflated pawing for holiday cheer, in the hour before picking up my children at school, I fought to untangle the cords and nailed the string of lights to our new 1929 english Tudor. I had silently wept as I worked to surprise my girls, wiping the tears away on the sleeve of my coat. The throbbing cold in my fingers made my own despondency more acute. Last year I had wondered if the swell of Christmas mania would succeed in swallowing what was left of me altogether.
Today, that memory of my heavy sadness last year swept me up for a fleeting moment. I took a cold breath in, and noticed…I felt unclogged by the passing seasons, the months of healing and unloading and discovering that the past year had delivered. The dead leaves and muck that no longer served me had been scattered by new memories and bold declarations made in 2013. Rick and I finished the last strand of lights by wrapping it tightly up a small pine tree, taking the tangled pile from his left hand, and passing it to his right. We stepped back to admire our work… our home sufficiently festive to create memories that will hold in the minds of our small girls. I slipped my hand into his back pocket when he gave me a soft kiss, and the moment wrapped itself around my melancholy memory, transforming into something beautiful for me to hold.