Turn out the lights

Published 9:06 am Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Well, it’s over.

Pour the last of the eggnog down the drain.

Remove the well worn CDs and place in the back of the drawer.

Gather the once carefully crafted, color-matched ribbons and paper into a giant misshapen ball. Send it to the trash heap.

Gently lift the angel off the top. Wrap her in soft, wrinkled paper. Lay her in a box and solemnly entomb her. Whisper, “rest in peace.”

Remove the ornaments, one-by-one, to their appointed home. The waving Santa, the sled, the dancing bear, the golden cross, the singing mice, the laughing polar bears and all their cousins. Yes, store them silently away, as if sending them to a far-away country.

The red balls are next.

Then come the lights. Those glorious, sparkling, magical luminaries that once cast mystical shadows on the wall, as if writing music. Reach down and disconnect their lifeline, sending them into unbroken darkness. Now, they are simply colorless glass, a chaotic bundle, lifeless.

Reach between the branches and remove that majestic evergreen from her base. Listen as she sighs. She was once chosen from a thousand, the anointed one, a sacred selection, as if light from the heavens had illuminated her existence, proclaiming “This is the one!”

Transported to her place, she was tenderly righted in vertical position and adorned with jewels. She was once the proud queen, looking out over her subjects, guarding future delights at her feet.

Now, she is tossed in the bed of a truck, carried to the nearest woods and heaved aside, her greenery scattering across the forest floor as she comes to rest. Her rule overthrown, she lies prostrate, alone. Her previous abode is vacuumed and cleaned, all traces of her former glory removed. There, a chair is placed.

Kiss loved ones goodbye. Kiss them long and hard. Wave to children and grandchildren through watery eyes as they disappear, like planes in the sky, into the distance.

Turn and plod back to the long, cold winter nights, as the wind, like a would-be intruder, rattles the panes.

Lastly, turn out the lights.