Sunday, January 4, 2015

Christmas Town, Too Late, Somewhere

There's nothing much sadder than Christmas images after the New Year. It's a sign of a dead-end hope for next Christmas already, of fatigue from the surge, of the cheapest sort of nostalgia for that which happened just a week ago.

It sort of feels like that half-smattering of snow still on the ground. Where the snowdrift sits atop barren dirt piles. A cow pattern of winter. Leftover. Lingering. Yawned and sighed.

HAPPPPppppyyyy Newww Year!!!   (sound of fading flatulent paper horns)

I have always disliked the aftermath of holidays. My family used to try to console me by leaving trees up long after Christmas was over - after I'd returned to school, after I'd already worn (and likely ripped or stained or otherwise ruined) whatever was in the boxes, and after we'd settled back into the busy tedium of the new rest-of-the schoolyear.

It's because I have a January birthday. They left things up until then. We were better than some, whose sad santas and half-baked-in-the-sun snowpeople sat in soggy yards until the first spring rain. We did, after all, have an expiration date.

But the leftover of Christmas also seems to me a kind of protest against normal. Holidays are certainly that. Consumerism aside, we like the non-ordinary, the parade, the carnival, of it all.

Within parameters, of course. The non-normal is sanctioned. The weirdness is supported by the non-weirdness of the accepted custom. You can be extreme and bizarre within that sanction, as long as it's rooted squarely within the tradition.

How much I've longed to happen upon a place where I could sit and drink rooibos tea under dim lights with a picnic table and string lights. There are places outside Michigan where that happens. But here, it's a Seuss-fantasy stuffed inside a Christmas stocking.

What I wouldn't give to find this table out there in my every day, without the triangle trees, maybe without the snow, or at least with a tent and an outdoor heater.

These images are taken from a Christmas park off of US-31 here in Interlochen. It's actually the back lot of a motorcycle shop. Little place called CycleMoore. I've never been inside. But a worker talked to me while I was taking pictures and told me they sell and fix antiques. He seemed a little wary of me. I'm used to that now. (Am I? Maybe not.) It's also hard to tell 'wary' up here, exactly. People seem naturally a little skittish.

The display is gone now. Just like the holiday is gone. The world is about to set in again, with its corrections and diplomacies and careful wording and adjusting and straightening and filing and saving and squinting and sitting up straight and avoiding eye contact and moderations and appropriate time lengths and closed doors and open doors and listening intently and snagging sleep and curbing cruelties.

But gone too is the very quiet and the really hermit. The withdrawal and the resigned. The easy and the undress. The wrung midnight and the extended sighs. The closed window and the cold engine. The photo rifling and the reenacting. Again and again.

It's a new year and another opportunity to push forward and reach out and decorate each day. So yeah ...

Happy New Year!


oh. p.s.   ..............

is it just me, or is this a brother?

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