Sunday, January 4, 2015

A Melancholy Task

The "wrap up" (that was bad, sorry) of our holiday decorations.  Photo by J. Berta

Greetings All:

"All is quiet on New Year's Day."   

U2 from their song, "New Year's Day," from their 1983 (My God, has it been that long?!?) album, War.

New Year's Day, 2015.  Welcome to the new year and farewell to the holiday season, at least in our house.  It's kind of an unwritten rule that come January 1st, the decorations come down, get packed up and returned to the basement.  This was something my Mom did and we've continued the practice in our place.

There's something a bit sad, melancholy actually, about the end of the holidays.  Gone is the season of food, fun, the same songs sung by artists across the generations, and of course, the decorations.

I am a sucker for outdoor lights.  I love looking at them and having them up at our house.  I think I did a not-too-terrible job.  I never figured out how to set the timer on the power strip thing, so every evening and every night I would venture outside to plug and unplug it.  When I turned it off there was something kinda neat about being outside in the cold.  That quickly passed and I scooted back inside to the warmth of the house.  Still, experiencing the cold was worth it to catch a glimpse of the neighbors' lights still on.  (I told you I was a sucker for lights.)

When the holidays end, there is a degree of sadness.  Here's a link to an article that sheds some light on this subject:

For me, part of the sadness of the holiday season being over is that things need to go back to the way they were prior to Turkey Day.  There is the issue of packing up the stuff and carefully, I might add.  We have a number of things that need extra care.  The one that comes immediately to mind is the nativity scene given to me by my neighbor, Mrs. Van Severn, when I was a little boy.  It's a minor miracle its survived this long.  I'm determined to keep it that way.

It is sad to say goodbye to the holidays.  That is why I am convinced that the best way to deal with the end of the holidays is to pack up stuff ASAP.  Now, full disclosure, it is the evening of th 4th and the decorations have not yet been moved downstairs.  They are packed, however, and that is the important part.  It's important because for me, it's too tempting to leave them up.  I simply love the holidays.

Twenty years ago, Martin Zellar released Born Under, still one of my most favorite albums.  One of the songs is "East Side Boys."  The opening verse contains the following lyrics:

"Well they grew up on the side of town where the Christmas lights hung up all year round, and the sidewalks went un-shoveled, and the dogs barked all night long."

True, you should let your dog in and deal with your snow.  Yet, would it be such a crime to let Christmas stay with us all year long?  No.  Then again, we would not have the joy of the season, the surprise of seeing the lights again if they were up all year long.  They'd just be like the streetlights.  Comforting, of course, yet not unique.

I suppose we have to experience the melancholy task to taking down the decorations to experience the joy the following year.  Perhaps this is "paying it forward" at its finest. 

Be well my friends,

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