: views from the Hill

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Tree's up.

After much hemming and hawing and even a "why don't we just rearrange the furniture" episode at lunchtime today, we went over and picked up the decorations and tree stand from where they live eleven months of the year, then stopped by Delancey Street Trees at Pier 32 and bought a tree this afternoon.

We'd already put up a crèche in our seldom-used fireplace a couple few weeks back and strung lights up on the deck.

... but the tree, the tree, we had no tree.

My fault. I hadn't cleared the space we needed. We needed a day with nothing else happening to fetch the tree, which hasn't been happening recently, too. But most of the fault was mine. Stuff stashed, spread, boxed in the space where the tree would live. I finally cleaned the space, but it's just a week before Christmas and can I justify all the tree-effort for such a short spell?

The tree is a magical bit of Christmas for me and a pain in the rear for his nibs, the choosing, the dragging, the setting up, the lighting, the decorations. Because of the logistics these days, the getting and setting of the tree is even more a project than it ever was back in the days when we'd drive with the kids up into the mountains to cut a fresh tree from George McKenzie's Christmas tree farm.

So I'd finally cleared the space, but we were so close to Christmas and his nibs didn't much want to go through the exercise. I decided maybe we'd alternate years: a year for me with a tree, a year for him without one, but then today after I'd rearranged the furniture, I sat in one of the soft armchairs, staring out at the sun-shiny day, the bay, the blue skies, Mount Diablo in the distance, the boats, the east and the day was beautiful and I should've been at peace, but I felt as melancholy as you can feel without drowning in the black ooze. Sure it was all about Dad not being here this Christmas and his birthday and Skip's just past and all the combined blues but then there was the there'll-be-no-tree-this-year on top of it all.

His nibs, bless him, understood and said, let's go get a tree, for pete's sake, or words to that effect.

We sat on the sofa after dinner, in the dark, watching the lights twinkle on the almost-all-decorated tree, watching the lights twinkle on the bridge and in the East Bay, watching the candle in front of the crèche flicker while Jimmy Buffet sang Lennon's Happy Christmas (War Is Over) ...

(The Buffet Christmas Island album is one of my favorite Christmas collections -- probably an even tie with Sinatra's for the best-ever Christmas album of all time.)

... and although I'm still a bit melancholy about the season, the tree is tossing out tendrils of peace and happiness and my mood's much improved over where it was early this afternoon. Much.

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