Thursday, December 15, 2011

Chiaroscuro



I live in a swanky neighborhood in a buttoned down, serious city which is why I find rather hilarious just how tacky, gaudy, and overworked the beautiful houses look during the holidays, encrusted with baubles, lights, reindeer, big ugly plastic santas and such. No offense Santa Claus, but my dear you are not pretty, c'mon.

There's no house on Capitol Hill as surreal in terms of over-decoration as some in suburban neighborhoods where the residents know nothing about restraint. There were suburban neighborhoods outside San Francisco we used to visit every year, just because they were so over the top. People, in their cars in a long queue, waited patiently to drive through those neighborhoods. What would aliens from another planet make of this behavior? I wonder.

The people who own the chateau decorate just one tree in the front yard. There are MANY blue lights on the tree. More than many, you could say. Do I dare to speak the truth? There are too many blue lights on that tree. I have yet to take a picture that isn't blurry; I'll keep trying. The tree, droopy under the weight of all those lights, is nevertheless pretty cheerful though I admit as soon as New Year's Day has passed, I'm instantly tired of all Christmas decor, in particular the blue tree.

Some people keep their Christmas lights switched on until March. It's so wrong! After January 1, our secular solstice, the landscape should be allowed some cold, quiet darkness - not that it's ever dark in the city, but still, we should try to dance in alignment with the long dark month of January, shouldn't we? I think so. Seems disrespectful, or at least cheeky, to rage against the dark after the solstice.

Here at the chateau the lights are unplugged on February 1st, the cross-quarter day between solstice and equinox. Conceptually it's quite elegant, but still too long for me.

I'm thinking about light and dark today because a Facebook friend posted this status: I celebrate the dark and breathe fire. Once upon a time, when I was fully wiccan, I celebrated the dark, too, kind of exclusively as is the practice in that tradition. These days I celebrate the light at least as much as the dark, probably a little more than the dark, or maybe a LOT more than the dark. That means I no longer have to breathe fire. What a relief!

8 comments:

ellen abbott said...

Though I'm not afraid of the dark, and in true darkness with only the moon and stars it's really amazing how well a person can see if they will let their eyes become accustomed, I prefer the long days. Why is that? Maybe because when it's dark my brain and body don't want to do things and I'm a doer. I don't sit we'll or for long.

Rebecca Clayton said...

I confess, I once left my Christmas tree up until Easter. It always made me so sad to throw away the tree and pack up the ornaments. Now, I have no tree in the house and don't miss it--probably because there are so MANY outside. (My inner prairie dweller has not adjusted yet.) I love the way you celebrate all sorts of things!

Reya Mellicker said...

Life is short! Why not celebrate?

Linda Sue said...

That poor tree!

Amish Stories said...

I'm just stopping by different type of blogs and thought id say hello folks. So greetings from an Amish community in Pennsylvania, and wishing everyone a merry Christmas and a healthy and happy new year. Richard from Amish Stories

Kerry said...

Oh, I was going to write about lights too, but haven't yet. I love love love little lights at night, and don't care if it is Christmas or not. That's why 2 years ago when neither of us had the energy to take down the lights after Jan 1, I decided to love them all through the year, and I did, even in July when our tree in front of the house looked like 1/3 of your last photo. But the joke was on us; the lights died 2 weeks ago, and I have just replaced them. I bet we leave them up again.

steven said...

i remember the first time i saw coloured lights - they were christmas lights reflecting in puddles. it had the sensation of magic reya. it still has that effect! steven

Reya Mellicker said...

Especially reflected in puddles, Steven.

Life is ironic, Kerry, is it not?