the holidays found me bumming a cigarette off strangers and wandering through the woods with bright sunlight blinding my eyes.
there was so much to do. so much to get done.
i felt the absence of youth this time around.
when i was a little girl we would put our christmas tree together. first we’d assemble the metal trunk pole. we’d place the color coded branches in piles and then stick them in at just the right time.
it was thrilling.
it was just as good, if not better, than driving out to a christmas tree farm and chopping down an honest-to-god, real tree ourselves.
my mother loves christmas.
and she handed down her love to us like another wrapped gift under the tree.
but this year, i don’t know.
i didn’t feel the thrill. i felt the work and the budgeting. i felt the plans and the going here and there.
i saw the kids and i heard them, too. they were in the wonder and i was…watching.
it’s okay though.
i don’t have to feel everything. i don’t have to experience every pang of holiday wonder each time in order to say “happy holidays” to the lady at dollar tree and really mean it.
but i tell you what. when those kind folks in the park handed over that marlboro red with such compassion, the camaraderie of getting through the holidays written on their faces, i nearly wept at the milk of human kindness.
“i really appreciate this.”
and i stumbled away down the worn path into the wide open woods wondering what next december might bring.