Hanging Christmas Lights
For some, hanging Christmas lights is a tradition,
one that has been handed down since candles
were invented and eventually burned down buildings…
but traditions are traditions, no matter what the cost.
Many spend countless hours outside, the smarts ones
when the weather is nice; for the not- so-smart ones
when rain and snow clouds threaten the very existence
of delicious weather or in the midst of a snowstorm.
Thousands upon thousands of lights cascade down
huge chimneys, every side of the house, every shingle,
or hang delicately from every rain gutter on the house,
blazing their beautiful twinkling lights from one mile away.
For others, like me, putting up Christmas lights creates
animosity year after year, even a gross of grumbles
at the mere mention of “what the neighbors are doing”
or “wouldn’t it be nice to do something different this year.”
For years, I have balked at putting up lights, balked
at creating a newness about the house, believing
that it wastes precious electricity and power
that some poor soul needs somewhere down the line.
But this year, I have succumbed to the mounting pressure.
Early last Saturday, we gathered all of the tiny lights,
wrapped nicely and stuffed so gently into the big apple box,
spread them out, plugged them in to see if they still worked.
Finding the good ones, we hauled them outside,
began to wrap them around each fence board, draped
them like a necklace between the boards, as if
they were all going to the senior prom with a date.
All done, we walked around to witness the great work,
then waited two days until I drove to Wal-Mart
and purchased more extension cords than I wish to divulge.
At home, midst gales of Wyoming wind, I plugged them in.
With pride—yes, I did say “pride”—I walked down the lane,
stood back, and gazed at the handiwork, my Christmas lights.
Granted, nothing was fancy—too much work for that—
just lights, wrapped once, draped once, and smiling at passersby.