With the new year, most of us pack away the trappings of the season. The sparkling lights, ribbons, bells and bows are secreted back into attics, basements and storage garages, leaving our homes looking a bit like some post-Grinch apocalypse. Bereft of the colorful lighted swags, the tiny nails that held them remind us of their absence. Still, even as the coming of the holiday season brings with it a certain joy, so, too, does the passing of its parade.
Don’t misunderstand, there is no bah, humbug here. It is good to celebrate with those we hold most dear through our gloomiest days. The gleaming candlelight, to borrow a phrase, still shining bright helps remind of us of the hopeful light yet to come. Perhaps this year, as much as ever, we can use the marker that the dark days are limited, and with each, we move closer to the warming hours of spring.
But as we vacuum the final stubborn pine needles from under the sofa, have we really managed to take away all of the stories of the season? Can we? Do we even want to erase them? With each year comes a set of memories, some good and others maybe more difficult, but each, through the rose-colored filter of nostalgia, will bring us back to this time. It may have been the last year in the old house, or with that terrific dog, Duke, or, sigh, the last time that Grandma was able to be with us. Canasta was played and terrible, terrible cranberry sauce was made.
But just as the fruit was cold, the memories are warm. The laughter, the tears and the togetherness seem to matter. Even if we pack the accoutrements, why would we pack away the memories? Does anyone decorate for Groundhog Day?