In our house, it’s easy to tell when the holidays have overlived their welcome.
It’s that day we wake up and look at the tree and look at the ocean of brown needles that have gathered at its base and slide open the sliding glass door and tell the tree that, we’re sorry, but it’s time to return to the earth from whence it came.
Of course, the ritual defenestration of the tree is exciting, and so it’s always important to gather a small group of eager children and at least two adults to witness the act, to share in the admixture of elation and joy as the tree does its unballetic tumble.
The result of the act is never in question. The tree will fall. Gravity assures it. The fun is all in the anticipation. Will there be any surprises (there are never surprises)? Will angels appear and spirit the tree off to tree heaven, where it will shine on for eternity (angels have never shown up)?
Instead the tree falls and lands with no dignity on the cold, wet sidewalk below. The children cheer. The adults nod approvingly, and then Robbi, who always waits below to warn passersby to choose a different stretch of sidewalk, drags it to the place where the truck comes every Monday to collected unwanted trees and leaves and branches.
And then it is my job to sweep the ocean of needles into piles that can be whisked and bagged and hauled away as well. Eventually, there is nothing left but the tiniest herd of holdouts, waving the final banner of the Christmastime that was.
All this happened a month ago. I am terribly behind in my storytelling. But more to come. More to some so soon, I keep telling myself.