Opinion

Stuck in neutral as holidays loom

There is something about this Christmas that I’m not ready for. Well, make that all of Christmas. It’s as though my calendar got stuck in October and I can’t pry it free.

I always loved those episodes in old movies where, to show the passage of time, a calendar would get caught in a gust of wind and the pages would flip over one after another. If this were my movie, there would be a giant paper clip holding the last few months closed.

In a current movie, the scene would be the calendar on my computer or my Blackberry, jammed and unmoving. Not nearly as satisfying a visual.

I am relieved to know I’m not alone. One friend wrote in Facebook that her unplanted bulbs probably trump her unhung wreath. Until she remembered the Halloween windsock on her patio.

Two more friends admitted to pumpkins still moldering on their front porches. I wonder why we’re so far behind this year?

Maybe the election was so all-consuming, we’re just left breathless. Rather than waiting to exhale, I think we’re needing to inhale. A big deep cleansing breath, as my Lamaze coach would say, and then let’s get back to the labor of life.

We went out of town for Thanksgiving, so my house missed out on the preparations and smells and steamy transition that holiday brings.

I missed the First Day of Advent, which came in November this year, too. When you have to start with the second day of something, you just lose your energy to jump in.

So my blue Advent candles sit in the closet where they’ve been waiting since I bought them last January, because the one thing you can’t find in shops anywhere this time of year are blue candles.

We did go out and choose our Christmas tree. It’s a beauty, about seven feet tall and perfectly formed if we put the empty spot at the bottom against the wall. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that it rests in a bucket of water in our garage, waiting for us to bring it inside to decorate. It has sturdy branches and tight, deep green needles that, while lovely, have trapped years of forest detritus I need to brush and shake out before I can bring it indoors.

So, there it sits. I admit I’ve grown fond of seeing it leaning against the storage shelves. Please, God, don’t let me have to drag it out of the garage in January for the Boy Scouts to haul away. It’s going up tonight, I swear.

I did put my Christmas doormat out on the front porch, and the antique sled with its green and red original paint. On my street of gorgeous seasonal light displays, that isn’t going to cut it.

We tend to draw a steady parade of traffic up and down the street, folks coming to enjoy the lights. I was in the front room practicing the piano the other night and saw them. Inexplicably several paused in front of my house. Maybe they were thinking, if this woman stopped playing the piano she could get out here and put up some lights.

I have to admit, I wasn’t even playing Christmas music. I was thinking, move on people. There’s nothing more to see here. Just a woman playing a piano. Move on.

Of course, I haven’t started my Christmas shopping. I haven’t even made a list. How can that be? I have lots of family out of town and I resist paying extra postage. I was in Silverdale for work yesterday but I didn’t have time to shop. I think that’s a good thing.

I’m going to take a day off work, bundle up and start at one end of Winslow Way and work my way to the other. I imagine I’m going to go into every shop and every bakery. I’ll get an elixir at Blackbird for the cold my husband picked up on the Thanksgiving flight and then generously shared with me.

I’ll get my mother a pin or necklace at Embellish and some art supplies at Oil and Water. I’ll get our toddler grandson something that stacks and clacks at Calico Cat. I’ll get everybody books at Eagle Harbor.

It will be wonderful. It will be a wonderful life, which is what I’m blessed with every moment of every day, and most of the time I even notice it’s true. Season greetings and blessings to you all.

Eve Leonard is an island writer and real estate agent.

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