Tuesday, February 21, 2012


the calendar says it's almost march, it feels like it's almost april, but i'm stuck in some kind of time warp trying to figure out when february appeared and how, all of a sudden, it's almost gone. the thermometer reads 40, there isn't a storm in sight, and a vigorous sun shoots out long white rays like magic tentacles reaching down and turning the sloppy snow and dirty puddles into blinding shards of crystal which stab my eyes.

i walk up the driveway and, yet again, see that flash of red, and say to myself for the hundredth time in seven days christmas was two months ago, lady—where have you been?—you've simply got to take the wreaths off the lamp posts TODAY. 

i hate to take the wreaths down—didn't i just put them up? they look so pretty with their bright red bows and long, fluttering ribbon. they remind me of family, family snugly together, at home for the holidays.

okay, okay. i'll do it. i lift the still strongly scented and intact balsam wreaths off the posts and slip the giant green bracelets over my arms. when i get to the garage i put them on the floor, pick up one at a time, and unwind each ribbon's wire where it attaches to the wreath. but first i bring the wreath up to my face, stick my nose in the glorious woodland needles, and inhale—deeply, slowly, noisily, extravagantly—just like the dogs inhale, their noses wildly snuffling, searching the dirt with an urgent need to pick up a scent.

that's when it happens, but i don't know it's happening until after. my brain fires a series of millisecond pulses—an electric red spark: snap, snap, snap—and i smell cinnamon and brown sugar and christmas tree and wood fire; i see christmas all over again. i hear laughter, glassware clinking, the shelling of pistachio nuts, the crack, hiss of piney sparks, a pack of dogs yipping in excitement over so many people to lick and lick.

then, as quickly as i am offered this glimpse into christmas past, the memory picture falls away and is gone. i continue to untwist the slightly rusty wire and pull off the creased ribbon and think soon it will be spring.

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