This is my mother's street. Remember the Halloween house? This is it for Christmas. And just as then, this is the Street of Lights, every house decorated for the season. The fellow who did this put up lights at my mother's house, too. He doesn't want to see a blank house on the street. He and his wife are lovely people. They are the ones who organized the caroling. They brought my mother fresh baked cookies yesterday and told her in no uncertain terms that half of them were for me. My mother lives with wonderful neighbors.
Sunday, December 24, 2023
Eve Redux Ad Infinitum
I should have taken some pictures of my neighborhood. I took a drive to the liquor store last night and saw all the professionally decorated houses. White lights, all. No red or green or blue or yellow. There are big, illuminated balls hung from the highest tree limbs and rows of lights decorating the second story eves. There are giant white light reindeer on the lawns of every fourth or fifth house. All white.
I am reminded of Wallace Stevens' poem (link). When I Googled it to find a link, however, this was first on the list (link). I guess it's true what they say about asses and microphones.
Here is a card painted by My Own True Mom some years ago.
It is pretty, but I find it a little doleful, too. Maybe it is the white background, but there seems a melancholic blankness in it. I was an only child, and a melancholy one, too, so I have taken it to be me sitting before the tree awaiting Christmas Day. You've seen the film clips. You know those are my pajamas. Ha!
Here's one I made into a Christmas card for the mother of the two girls back in 2011.
I can't find the one that had "Merry Christmas" on it, but that's O.K. It was a long time ago and far away now. This was one of the first digital images I made in the studio, back when I was doing all those fabulous Polaroid things. Selavy.
So now we wait. There is the last minute anxiety in my house. I need to do my Christmas shopping today. I got my mother a new iPhone 15 Pro, and we decided it was stupid to buy gifts, but I need to have things she can open. I've been sending her those old 8mm films of my childhood Christmases, and she says it makes her a little sad. I need to make this Christmas as fun as those past. So yea, while the rest of you are waiting on the Birth of Christ, I'll be on the Boulevard getting last minute things.
I have heard nothing from the Losers and Orphans group about meeting for a Xmas Eve drink. The tradition that started back in the '90s may be dead. Oh, my. . . the Ghost of Christmas Past comes to me, as well.
Is it "Past" or "Passed"?
Since graduating from college, I have spent as many Christmas Eves alone as I have with others. I will go to my mother's house tonight and we will eat and drink and open presents. That is what we do now rather than wait until Christmas morning. It breaks with our traditional behavior, but these are atypical times. I will come home late, however, to sleep in my own bed. But first there will be a nightcap in solitude as I think over. . . whatever it will be. Old friends and current, nestled for the night with family, husbands and lovers, couples touching toes and holding hands, watching a favorite Christmas movie or listening to Hipster Carols, perhaps starting into a flickering fire, drinking nog, planning for Christmas dinner with family. . . .
Or maybe I'll think of a Robert Frost poem (link).
Or both. They are not mutually exclusive.
But perhaps neither. I don't wish to be maudlin.
All of autumn, it seems to me, is a heading toward Christmas. The season is exciting and soul-warming, a repetition, of sorts, of transcendental moments and recurring time. There is a feeling of immortality in it. And then, just like that, after all the anticipation and all the joy, it is done. Presents opened, food eaten, drinks drunk, we stand facing an empty winter.
Or so it seems to me. I've always suffered from an emotional letdown late on Christmas Day.
But I guess that's why we celebrate the New Year. And so it is.
Here is one of my favorite songs of the season. It expresses my feelings about this time wonderfully.
I hope you have a wonderful Christmas Eve, but don't be surprised if I write you again tonight.