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What wants to go

The Mister and I chucked our Christmas tree on Boxing Day. It was our first and only tree, sent to us decades ago by my dear sister Chris and her husband, Terry. Interestingly enough, it was their first tree as well. I asked her how many Christmases it had seen between the two families, and she reckoned 34! They made them to last back then. :-)
But the past few years we couldn’t deny the ancient was showing its age. The twisted metal of the branches was starting to rust and I’d taken to wearing latex gloves when I assembled and disassembled it. And the little splotches of different coloured paint at the tips of the branches that indicated where to place it on the “trunk” were all but illegible leaving me to proceed by guess and by golly year to year.
But what finally decided us was a visit to our friends’ house for a choir party after the Cantata. E. and N. have an absolutely lovely home, and in their living room, there stood a little tabletop tree so beautifully decorated it took my breath away! I leaned over to The Mister and whispered, “This is giving me an idea.” And he leaned over to me and whispered, “I was afraid of that.” And I leaned over to him and whacked his shoulder.
Our tree was not a large one by any means, but our home is small and putting up the tree in the living room meant moving plants and rearranging furniture. Even our best efforts left the room something of an obstacle course we had to negotiate for at least a month. Funny though, it seemed no great inconvenience for all those years. But after seeing our friends’ tree, and how beautifully it fit in their home, pangs of discontent started to rumble.
Then two days before Christmas, the top string of lights burned out. I always test the lights before stringing them, and they were working fine, and in all the years we’ve had the tree we’ve never had a single strand “die on vine.” An unfortunate first. I wasn’t relishing the idea of trying to extricate the burnt out string and replace it amid all the tinsel and decorations, but I needed have worried. The Mister returned from his trip downtown to inform me there were no lights to be had in all the Burg. Everyone was sold out. I looked at our dimmed artificial evergreen and said, “You know what Pa? I think it wants to go.”
Tosha Silver has written some lovely prayers about letting go what wants to go and making space for what wants to come. Our tree with the burnt out lights just seemed to be saying, “It’s time.” So sad and pathetic I couldn’t bear to look at it, so we said goodbye to it and took it down on Boxing Day, a job I usually undertake on New Year’s Day – my apologies to all you Twelfth Nighters out there. :-)
I was stunned at how good it felt! Like we’d opened up a space, not just in our home, but in our hearts, where a peacefulness told us we’d done the right thing. I said to The Mister, “Even if we can’t find a little tree next year, that would be OK. We’ll just set up the creche and leave it at that.”
“Sure,” he said, “and if you like, I could string some lights all around the room, on the mantle and the chest and the piano. How would that be?”
“Oh wow!” I breathed. “It would be like walking into a pixie land!”
He turned slowly to look at me.
“A what?”
“Did you just say…”
“You just said,’pixie land.'”
“I did not! I said ‘dixieland'”.
“Yes. I want to start having jazz parties in the New Year. Dixieland jazz parties.”
He started to grin. “You said ‘pixie land’. Oh my god! You’re…whimsical!”
“Take that back!”
“Now you listen to me – I am a poet dark and morose. I can make Santa sob, and put the Easter Bunny into a six month spell of melancholia!”
He laughed and gave me a hug.
“What an absolutely whimsical thing to say!”

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