Sunday, January 30, 2011
Evergreen until green no more
For most folks, Christmas is pretty much over in the early days of January.
You unplug the lights, pack away the decorations and tactfully dispose of all those photo cards from family and friends and the end of a year of change and growth is officially over.
Oh ye of sharp efficiency ... weeks ago your Christmas trees sat curbside, having by now received their final mulch. You've dusted your hands and moved onward into the New Year.
I envy you.
I have always had trouble letting go of Christmas' past.
This has to be the earliest I’ve even considered dismantling a tree. Most years, it's Valentine’s Day before I gather up the gumption to toss our bone-dry tree and stow away the ephemera that collects during the jois de’ yule. One year I watched my husband drag out a bare, needle-less stick with branches a few days before St. Patrick’s Day.
I considered that year a personal triumph. Most folks would assume it’s a keen laziness that keeps a person from putting all the pomp back into the shoe boxes in a timely, efficient manner. But I believe it's a softer kind of laziness that supplies the reason for procrastination. Although the enthusiasm for putting away the holiday flair rarely matches the exuberance for putting it out.
It also doesn't help that the kids have named the tree "Firdinand" and were checking daily to see if he'd like a cool beverage.
With the house empty and no one mourning the demise of poor Fird-y, I take the opportunity to snag my clothes on the parched pine needles and collect the pieces of glitter-covered cardboard hanging from its branches in peace. I’ll have to find more boxes to store the ornaments that multiply with each passing year.
Throwing away any piece of the collection doesn’t seem like an option.
There’s a new paper plate angel a reindeer with hand print horns a Santa made of construction paper, Poly-fil and Froot Loops. I pluck from the tree six balsa wood stockings that have been painted in the style of Jackson Pollock and 12 colorful paper orbs scratched from black paint. There’s a mouse made of chocolate kisses, a felt owl and a long paper chain with each link numbered in order. Scattered around here and there I find 17 stars and one wonderfully misspelled solar system — Sun, Murky, Venis, Earth, Marz, Joopeter, Sater, Yernis, Neptude and Paluto — carefully colored in crayon.
How can I slip these holiday creations in with the coffee grounds, sink strainer contents and whatever leftovers became the science project at the back of the fridge? It doesn’t seem right.
As I dropped little "Paluto" into a hastily procured storage box I pictured Ittybit’s face —her knitted brow as she came to me to ask if it was alright to include the little lost planet in her project, her smile when I told her it could orbit our tree. After all, it has been difficult for many of us to come to terms with its universal demotion. It's never easy to lose something familiar.
Eventually, though, we do have to say "goodbye," or at least "farewell for now," and move on.
I know someday the kids will stand around the boxes I’ve filled with stuff and wonder why their mother kept a paper cup with yarn hair and googly eyes, or a smear of paint on a chip of wood. I hope they will turn over each one and find their names in early handwriting.
In the end, though, I hope they do toss these faded bits of paper and mouse-eaten breakfast cereal masterpieces … I just hope it doesn’t happen before they have trees of their own filled with ornaments just like them.
Posted by toyfoto at 5:48 AM