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Saturday Shift December 7, 2009

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.

Then suddenly, and at long last, winter arrived.

We got up early to drop Tim’s car at the mechanic’s. We’d never put snow tires on so late in the season.

We went to the dump (I mean transfer station). We did some last-minute grocery shopping for our dinner party.

We got a Christmas tree.

We did not really have time to—in true Vermont style—cut our own. We stopped at the general store, and I found a tree I liked, but Tim was set on a balsam, and I couldn’t blame him. Smell trumps all.

So we went to a nursery, where a tree would be significantly more expensive (and was), and found the perfect balsam for us.

We put it in the living room and got out the long-stored lights to string ’round it. There were issues. Another trip to town was made.

We hardly ever have a tree. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, we are often traveling over the holidays. If we are not going to be home for Christmas, we do not get a tree.

I haven’t been home for Christmas in three years. Did I get a tree three years ago? Maybe. But maybe not. Probably. But maybe it was five years ago.

Sometimes I just get out my wire ornament-trees and hang my animal ornaments on them. Sometimes I don’t bother with that.

This year, we are home for Christmas. Real tree.

Second, I have historically had issues with the whole cutting-down-a-tree-and-sticking-it-in-your-living-room-for-several-weeks thing. I’ve worried about killing something meant to live outside. It took me a while to understand the crop aspect of this industry. It helps that trees are biodegradable.

It smells fantastic.

We picked up the newly snow-tired car. By late afternoon, it was snowing.

It was a wet snow, and not too much. But I think a lot of us Vermonters felt a collective catharsis, a relief of some sort. Such a late first valley-snow.

Our guests arrived with red-cheeked smiles. When I hugged them, they smelled like winter.

I have been feeling a lot of anxiety lately. An odd sort of malaise. I have been tasking like crazy, which is like me, but it feels like it’s been taking over my life. I have been experiencing aches and pains and have been obsessing about death more than usual. This morning, reading Bridgett’s advent blog, I was struck by her phrase “due to the gathering darkness.” My mind and body react to this darkness. I can feel solstice rapidly approaching. I love the idea of solstice. But I need the idea of turning back to the light.

Meanwhile, the brightness of snow may lighten our days and nights. Yesterday, Tim and I took an hour’s walk in the snow and bright sun. Being out there was long overdue. Soon, if we’re lucky, we’ll be skiing the same walk.

And at night, I can plug in my white lights and smell the balsam.


1. Alesia - December 7, 2009

I know what you mean about the malaise. I felt like I should have been enjoying the mild weather, but it felt WRONG. Now that it’s snowing, all (or most) is right with the world.

2. bridgett - December 7, 2009

Winter anxiety is par for the course for me. It took a long time for me to realize it was part of winter depression.

3. Mali - December 8, 2009

I think I’ve been suffering “fear of summer never arriving” malaise. Until yesterday.

I love the idea of trimming your tree when it was snowing outside.

4. Helen - December 8, 2009

I like the phrase “There were issues.” It conveys so much (yet so little). I’m glad you’re feeling better. Christmas lights and snow and company can work wonders.

5. Dona - December 8, 2009

I’m with Tim on the Balsam trees. My favorite — they are rare down here — and nonexistent at the cut-your-own-tree places we usually go to. This year we’re going to a nursery too. Maybe on Sunday.

Glad you’re feeling better. I need to get out of my holiday funk.

6. Eulalia (Lali) Benejam Cobb - December 8, 2009

What would a tree trimming be, without “issues”?

7. Craig (Maito Sewa Yoleme) - December 14, 2009

This year I have a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree. They’re actually manufacturing tiny, spindly little artificial trees with one sad little ornament on it. This morning I bought cinnamon-scented pine cones, so the house at least smells a bit like Christmas, though the 70-degree temperatures tends to throw off the illusion.

I totally agree with the growing solstice darkness doing a number on you. I want to hibernate; I’ve been going to bed earlier and sleeping longer, though I’m not the least bit depressed. I long for that quiet and stillness.

8. LisaS - December 14, 2009

oh, oh, oh, so jealous. we’re stuck with the fake tree again this year, and it feels so puny and i miss the delicious smell. so enjoy it doubly.

and yes, the winter malaise/depression/whatever. better living thru chemisty: i finally feel like i might survive till spring.

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