As I write and post this–late–I’m looking at our Christmas tree and this evening I begin its undressing. It doesn’t look especially dry or like a fire hazard, and in fact is still slowing drawing up water. But she’s lost her sheen and vibrancy. Her branches are losing their firmness as they begin to sag like flabby underarms. She looks elderly, fragile, and a bit tired, as much as she still wants to look pretty. Even shimmering tinsel no longer makes her sparkle like it did even a few days ago.
So I’ll begin by removing those strands of silver, like fine chains or strings of pearls, and place them back in the packet. (Yes, I re-use the tinsel.) That alone shuts off the light in her eyes. Then it’s the glass ornaments, baubles like chunky bracelets, earrings, and brooches. They’re brightly colored so as they’re returned to the tissue paper-lined boxes, her color drains. But there’s also almost the slightest ahhh as the weight of these treasures is removed.
The final decorations are the handmade, soft ones, the cotton slips of undergarments. As some of the branches dry, they curl upward like thin fingers and arms, as if to help me remove the felt angels, counted cross-stitch Santas, and pipe stem cleaner Christmas spiders. Before dancing her out, I peer through thinning needles, making sure I’ve not missed anything, like searching for the wadded up tissues tucked up sleeves or in pockets of sweaters, or inside the soft cup of a bra before pitching them into the laundry.
Finally, we’ll lift her out of her stand, taking off the sturdy shoes that gave stability.
No tossing to the curb for this old girl, she’s returned to the woods. She didn’t come from our woods, but that’s where her final resting place will be. Birds and mice and other critters will take up residence, and she’ll join the remains of past Christmas trees that have softened into pine straw and humus. A dignified ending.
Yes, Christmas is officially over and winter is here, (the snowmen décor comes out tomorrow), but my daffodils have buds on them already!
I love this! Please ignore the exclamation point, but in this case I found it necessary. The metaphor is perfect, and I fell into the comparison in a dramatic sort of way as soon as the tinsel came off.
Hi Jayne, thank you! I never know how these posts are going to come cross. It truly does feel like I’m undressing and putting to bed a beloved elderly family member. It means much the metaphor worked for you.