Friday, December 30, 2011

Far Too Soon

As I sit kicked back in my recliner, cleverly avoiding working on both a freelance assignment AND an unfinished novel, I take in the room around me. It's disheveled to say the least, bits of tinsel hang on the mantel, colorful glitter clings to the carpet, making the living room look almost like a stripper interrupted mid-strip. The Christmas tree is down at least, leaving the rest of the penguins, reindeer, Santas, and bits of Nativity scenes looking forlorn and lonely.

In case you missed the memo, Christmas is over, coming and going as usual in a whirlwind of finger foods, apple cider, wrapping paper, and twinkling lights...leaving behind destruction, new toys to play with, and just a hint of sadness that such a joyful season is gone once again.

This year I had fully intended to enjoy the time after the holiday. I would leave up my decorations until the new year and maybe even past. I would continue to partake in the guilty pleasure of Christmas carols as I tidied the house, cooked more holiday goodies, and stretched out the feeling of joy and magic for just a few more precious days. Before leaving work, my best bud and I had discussed how we would leave our offices decorated so that we could enjoy the whimsy once again upon our return. I even declared it bad luck to take the decorations down before the Day had even arrived.

I'm always full of good intentions.

But then the day after Christmas arrived. I logged onto Facebook to see what happiness had been spread to my friends, and I saw status updates declaring that houses had been disrobed, that trees had been discarded, that any and all traces of the Christmas train had left the station. Depression sank in. Friends and family were already shedding themselves and their houses of the Christmas season. How was I supposed to keep that magical feeling of the holidays alive when I, too, was beginning to get the bug to strip down the decorations and purge the house of Christmas?

And so, the tree came down. It took all of twenty minutes. I worked like a madwoman, carefully wrapping the precious ornaments, stuffing them unceremoniously into storage boxes, where they wouldn't see the light of day until the season arrived again, far too soon as always.

But then I stopped. Far too soon?

If the season arrives far too soon and leaves far too soon, then when do we have time to enjoy the in between? Time speeds past us, ushering in and out seasons and holidays, gobbling up moments and memories and leaving little behind but bits of tinsel and glitter, which clings sadly to a mantle, refusing to be swept away in the whirlwind of us all. We enable time to move faster. We rush the days. We rush the seasons. We wish our lives away. We barely remember to take a deep breath and enjoy each moment.

No more.

My living room sits in a state of in between. Not quite post-holiday blues but not quite full-blown spirit of Christmas. From the hearth, a resin Santa Claus smiles at me, cozied up close to our heater, frozen in time and in merriment. I think I'll leave him out just a little longer. Together with the remaining reindeer and penguins, Christmas cookies and tinsel, we'll ring in the new year and try to let those moments sink in before they pass us by once again, speeding past as the universe spins to some unknown fate and some unknown destination that we will arrive at far too soon.

Are your decorations down? How long do you usually leave them up after the holidays? 

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