i felt strong and confident tonight, walking home in the dark, seeing my caped shadow flare out behind me under the streetlights. it was warm, so i had my new three-quarter length coat unbuttoned. and as the breeze caught it, i watched my shadow and thought of myself as the capable main character of a serious novel, or a private detective, someone who could handle all sorts of adversity.
it got me to thinking how much image informs our sense of a person. we have an idea of what a person might be like, just from that first glance. frayed cuffs, a trendy handbag, Birkenstocks or Doc Martens - they all say something about that person. case in point: the guy who jogged past me while i was thinking this was dressed as a hard core runner, with the serious shoes, nylon shorts, and reflective vest. but he was just scuffling along, barely picking up his feet and not moving any faster than i was, walking. i thought, 'well, you *look* like a runner, but you aren't really one.' i have this idea that you should fly down the street on the winged feet of Hermes if you're out running. (not that i ever do that; it's just an idea.)
as i was mulling this over, headed up over the railroad bridge, i saw that the divorcè's house was done up in Christmas lights, and it made me happy. for the longest time, his mailbox said 'Mr. & Mrs.'. they did their house up for every holiday, including a little haunted graveyard in the front patch for Halloween. then this past fall, i walked by and the 'Mrs.' had been sloppily scratched off with a pen knife. no decorations for Halloween. made the house seem sad. so it was nice to come up the hill and see all the lights festooned over the house.
it's been odd this past week to see Christmas lights out. it's been in the 70s all week. i walked to work one day in jeans and a T shirt. doesn't feel like Christmas, doesn't look like Christmas. and yet there they are - icicle lights dangling from eaves, illuminated Santas and animated reindeer standing on lawns. gives me a little sense of what the 'winter' holiday season might be like Down Under.
i'm still not putting up a Christmas tree. i thought about it some more, and thought that maybe i should make the effort. i like the lights and the ornaments. when i was a kid, i used to sit in the living room with all the lights off except for the ones on the tree, and just gaze at the tree. don't know why i liked that so much, but it's always been one of my favorite parts of the holiday. i'd get into my pajamas and bathrobe, curl up in the velvet armchair, and sit there quite happily for long periods of time, just meditating on the tree, not really thinking about much at all.
so i thought, well, why not make the effort. get a little fir tree, dress it up, and sit on the couch, listening to jazz, sipping hot cocoa, and looking at my pretty little tree.
then i thought, there's only one place i can really put the tree, between the TV and the desk. and right above that space are two nails in the window trim. i put them up there last year for our stockings. yup, our stockings. i'd found two not-too-cute knitted stockings in earthy tones that didn't exactly match but went together, and put them up for myself and the ex. we did a little Christmas Eve thing, where we exchanged stockings and gifts. i love doing stocking stuff, always have, and had had great fun finding a few little treats to fill his stocking.
and if i put up a tree this year (side note: why is it putting 'up' a tree? i put mine *down* on the floor. it sits up all by itself.), i'll keep seeing those two nails there, with no stockings. right, right. take the nails out, you're saying. that would solve it, right? well, i haven't done that. and even if i did, i'd know the stockings were suppose to be there. so i'd be sitting there, looking at the tree, and the space where the stockings should be, and crying into my hot cocoa, and generally being a useless blubbery mess, and upsetting the cats.
so, no tree. plus, in my generally lethargic state these days, it seems like an awful lot of work to find a tree, and decorate it, and water it, and then undecorate it, and then forget to water it, and eventually kill it (which i always do, despite generally good intentions), just to have the holiday spirit for a few weeks. i think i'll just get some balsam scented candles, burn those, and leave it at that.