After Christmas

Pulling into the parking lot of the super market today I was confronted by an enormous wall of Christmas trees. For some reason my heart sank. I love Christmas, (more family time!) but somehow it just seems so sudden this year which is crazy since I was just talking about how much I love Thanksgiving and of course you don’t get one without the other, but there you are. It’s all going so fast.

I saw a girl I used to date tonight, someone I haven’t seen in quite some time. I was startled by the rush of memories that flooded me. I haven’t thought about her for awhile, and that’s always when memories are freshest, when they’ve been in cold storage.

It was oddly shocking to see her face, because now we’re strangers but for a little while there we weren’t at all. She asked what I’d been up to lately and I couldn’t think of a thing to tell her, not so much because there isn’t anything to tell, (I mean, come on, my bed bugs stories are legendary!) and more because I couldn’t really remember where we left off.  I couldn’t locate our point of connection.

Oddly enough she’d crossed my mind just this morning, when I’d seen the Christmas trees for sale.  I remembered her mild obsession with discarded Christmas trees on the street after New Years.  Once she’d drawn my attention to them I saw them everywhere, and I’ve noticed them every New Years since, the last vestiges of the season’s celebrations, stripped of their finery and deposited unceremoniously on the side of the road.

So that pang of seeing the trees for sale and feeling like I wasn’t ready got all tangled up with how soon we would be leaving them for the garbage collector on the side of the road. And then seeing her tonight sort of, just for a second, made me think about all the people that have passed through my life, how they’re here and then how they’re not.  It made me sad for a minute.

But on the other side of that was happy, because it was good to see her and not bad and maybe being close for a time and then not is better than never being close at all.  And maybe Christmas just around the corner is a happy thing too.  We don’t have to be ready, we can just hurtle through it like we always do, eat too much, drink too much, spend too much, love too much.

And on the other side we can leave the trees by the wayside when the needles start to fall off.  It’s wasteful and I can’t help but be sad about it, but you know what?  Next year I’ll do it all over again.  Christmas trees are beautiful.


UPDATE: omg, you guys, check out these super cool links I found googling for images of “discarded Christmas trees”  Perfectly haunting shots of discarded Christmas trees by a photographer I’ll be following from now on.  Or how about Artist turns discarded Christmas trees into a suspended forest!  And also I was fascinated to discover some interesting ways people are recycling them. The world is always weirder and more wonderful than you can ever imagine.