When I first moved to the South, it was hard to believe it was the "holiday season." Oh sure, the decorations were up, the lights twinkled, the trees smelled as fresh (if you have a live one, that is. The ones people haul out of the garages or attics might not smell so very fresh. Do they sell tree scented spray that you can perfume your petroleum-based tree product with? I wonder) as they did anyplace ELSE, but the cold and snow/ice that I for so long equated with Christmas simply did NOT make an appearance. It was disconcerting for a while, because Christmas and the New Year are SUPPOSED to be ushered in with frigid temps and gobs of snow, right?
Well, after just a few years here below the
(Cue windchimes and wavy screen; we are going to the flashback!)
The first many years of my life I lived in upstate
When I was 11 we moved to
I lived in
Fifteen years in
That lack of expectation was the beginning of the end. I started to WANT a warm Christmas. I started to LONG for a holiday that involved an invigorating walk, and that didn’t involve shivering through a cold dark afternoon. I began to think about the South. I began to believe that those people featured in the Southern Living magazine really had it made with their magnolia-leaf wreaths and their tangerine-laden garlands and their sweater-clad outdoor selves serving up hot cider to their pretty friends while their perfect children romped about in the freedom allowed by the absence of snowsuits. There was something alluring, beguiling, attractive about taking a hike through a crisp brown forest on Christmas afternoon, about the absence of snow shovels, about open front doors and hanging bird seed and peanut butter-smeared pine cones out on the bare pecan trees for the hungry birds on Christmas morning.
“I can DO those things,” I thought. "I can do them if I live where those people do."
And, now that I live in the south, I will do them. Someday. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe in ’08. Maybe I will.
Knowing I CAN makes all the difference. Whether or not Christmas is white matters very little anymore. Those long-held notions of “ought to” are melting away in the southern heat, revealing the structure of what always lay beneath.
Snow isn’t what makes the season bright, after all.
Here's hoping that your weekend is merry, that your New Year celebrations are shiny and safe, and that '08 brings you more good things than you could have dreamed possible. Take it from me; a lot can happen in a year's time...