Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Irony of Christmas Lights

It is another bad weather day. I’ve gone for a walk to the end of the road and back and will be going out again with Patty the puppy. Josh and Sharron left her with us while they are traveling to a friend's wedding. It is good to get outside despite the work of boots and hats and scarves, despite the weather. As I sit here at my desk I can feel my feet growing colder, losing circulation. I think the snow is stopped and it is a good thing. The woodlands are blasted with it. We’ve had enough. I wrote to Trev yesterday and found myself telling him I am staving off depression. I think this is the truth. It has been a dark winter.

In November and December I look for the details of the changing seasons and appreciate the subtleties, the grays and browns and whites, the delicate nature of trees under a mantle of snow, the pale sky. My wardrobe switches and I don’t mind wearing something different, something I haven’t seen in six months. I build fires in the fireplace and enjoy the crackle and radiant warmth of the flame. I gather the ingredients for soup and casseroles, dust off the slow cooker, and fill the closed-up house with the aroma of savory roasting and baking. I keep a few lap blankets in the living room, ready for use by readers and TV-watchers. We fill the birdfeeders on schedule and watch as the woodpeckers and juncos struggle through the heavy snow, gripping the swaying clothesline as cold wind drives through the backyard.

Now, March, I am weary of it all. The ice drips rhythmically from the roof. There is a thick patch of it on the front step and another at the top of the driveway near the mailbox. The driveway sand is making its way into the mud room and across the kitchen floor. The plowed snow alongside the garage is several feet above my head. The house is enclosed and chill. We program our thermostats for the economic use of heating oil. I am cycling through my wardrobe of fleece and wool, again and again. The kitchen and living room smell of turmeric and the baked beans we made last week. There is a tossed-together pile of drying hats and mittens across from the laundry sink. The floor is a tangle of boots. 

We can’t get onto the back deck any longer. The Christmas tree is still there, encased in a diagonal drift. I left the lights on it. I left them on, a little something to cheer me as I check on the state of the sky each evening. It is the irony of Christmas lights.

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