Okay, the tree is still up. Hey, man, this is a Santa-Shaming-Free Zone. Don't hate me because I'm resplendent.
I've been really busy, all right?
As you may know, I'm a freelancer, and I didn't travel over the holidays. In fact, I took just one day off entirely -- Christmas Day. Several clients wanted me to have projects ready for them either right after New Year's Day or the week after, depending on when they came back from their holiday travels. I'd like to say they turned to me because I am indispensable, but I know it was because I was available.
But it was fine, because I have Christmas bills to pay. Of course, all these clients' accounting offices are still behind because they all went traveling over the holidays....
Never mind. It wasn't just work. We were also doing a good bit of dog training, and some socializing, and then we had a sick dog to nurse. And anyway, we don't take anything down until Epiphany, which was a week ago.
The tree is about the end of it, though. The porch has returned to its normal nude winter state, decorated only by a shovel and broom. Lights are out of the windows. We've sort of de-decorated from the outside in, and the inmost decor is the mighty tree. It's a fake tree, of course, or else by now it would be a withered matchstick. It's also the most complex feature of the whole Christmas presentation, with the lights and ornaments all coming from disparate boxes, destined to be returned to same. It takes a lot of effort in either direction, although less coming down because there's no aesthetic judgment calls being made.
I suppose I could have really gotten the push on this week and gotten everything put away, but I confess the whole thing is depressing. Holidays of all kinds, as well as other fun events like weddings, are sad when they're over -- and sad when things hang around and hang around after the event. It's like being stuck at the airport with interminable delays on your way out of a vacation destination. Yeah, the trip was great, and going home and back to work sucks, but GET ME OUT OF THIS FREAKING AIRPORT and let's GET ON WITH IT. (Why yes, that has happened to me! How did you know?)
Ultimately the Christmas season is a break from the 10.5 months of the year that are not, a period that doesn't generally require special projects and paraphernalia and jocularity, at least not on the same level. But it is also a holy time, which can make me feel at the end like I'm moving away from the source of that Light that shines even when the tree is dark.
Well, Ash Wednesday is on March 1 this year, so before you know it we'll be off on a different and different kind of holy period.
'The old order changeth, yielding place to new,
And God fulfils himself in many ways,
Lest one good custom should corrupt the world."
The candle lights a candle in turn; its wick fails but the flame endures. Our tree is dark this morning; it's also fake, but all about it is real.