It is December, the Christmas Season. Last night I was asked to go to Central Park on the Boulevard to hear the Bach Choir sing the Sounds of the Season. The Tiffany Museum installs lighted Tiffany windows around the park. They close the street and people come with family and friends to celebrate.
I didn't go.
Tonight they light the Christmas tree. Do they call it that anymore? Is it the Tree of the Season? Whatever it is, it will be lit as will be much of the crowd. I may go.
Saturday is the annual Christmas Parade. It IS a Christmas parade, I know, because the last float has Santa Clause. I photographed the parade in the '70s. I should use my new cameras and try again.
New cameras. Here is the first photo with the M10-P. When I pulled up, I saw mom sitting in a shaft of light. "Don't move," I said. She did, though.
Right out of the sunlight. I told her to lean back and look at me. She couldn't look up, though, into the sunlight. She looks better in the second picture, but the first one is better. I popped these into the computer and did little to them. The colors just incredible with this camera. I'm happy with it and the new 35mm lens. I still need a 50mm. Santa Baby?
Oh, Christ, the Christmas songs just seem to pop into my head now. I love that song. Was it appropriate, though, that Shane McGowan should die this time of year? We'll get to that.
In the late 1980s, I went to Ecuador to climb Iliniza Sur, Cotopaxi, and Chimborazo. Our group was pretty inexperienced for such climbs, but we had a world famous mountain guide and his crew to see us through. It was cold, well below freezing, and for many nights, we slept in tents. Just before dark, the staff would cook up stews that we ate by a fire before turning in for the night. Great volcanoes erupted all around us often. We could both hear and feel them as the ground shook. Lying in my sleeping bag, I would put on the headphones of my Sony Walkman and listen to music to calm myself. Two tapes in particular, one by George Benson (fuck you) and "Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash" by The Pogues. I would rewind and play this one over and over and over.
We climbed Iliniza, but mistakes were made on Cotopaxi. The group was too slow and there had been a fresh snowfall the night before we climbed. When the sun came out and things began to melt, there was a massive avalanche. Many were hurt, and that was it. We didn't climb Chimborazo.
I am not sure where the photographs from that trip are. I know I have them, though, somewhere.
The Christmas season is upon me whether I like it or not. My last girl and I celebrated Christmases well. We didn't put much pressure on one another about presents. One year when we decided to have a sophisticated season of eating and drinking and foregoing gift giving altogether, we were cruising with the Vespa on Christmas Eve. We stopped at a thrift shop in a hipster plaza. There was a mink jacket on display. I asked her to try it on. It fit perfectly. The fellow who owned the place came over and explained that it was an unusual jacket because it had pockets. Minks rarely do, he said. This one belonged to a famous drag queen who kept sparkles in the pockets when he performed. He would reach in at the end of the performance, grab two handfuls, and shower the crowd.
I bought the thing on the spot. It was beautiful.
I never even got a photograph of her wearing it. Huh. I wonder if she kept it.
Of course, our favorite Christmas movies were "Elf," "Bad Santa," and "Love Actually." We watched "A Very Murray Christmas," too. I always get emotional when the snow-trapped Carlyle crowd sing "Fairytale of New York." It was the sanitized version, however, and left out the dirty stuff (link).
Old Shane got it right, though. I listened to it this morning, and, predictably, unavoidably, cried like a little baby. Life is stupid and cruel in the end. Bad things happen. They shouldn't. My old college roommate said "The way Shane lived, it is amazing he made it to 65." I wrote back that we should be able to live any way we want and remain young and vital forever. The way it works out is bullshit.
So. . . Happy Christmas, babe. Won't see another one.