Sunday, December 25, 2011
What Christmas Doesn't Have To Mean
A few weeks ago, Fiancee came home and there it was, a mess of broken colored glass and scattered needles. The tree skirt hung limp off of the stand, two feet in the air. Sometime during our weekend in New York City, the seven-foot-tall Fraser Fir we bought the week before had come crashing down. The sappy water spilled onto the parquet floor. It was still wet. The toppling was so fierce, one ornament had wedged itself firmly in the nook between the wall and a speaker five feet away.
This meant something. This was a sign. The tree had been so wide, so beautiful, so lush. Its falling had sliced deep into my gluttony. My seven foot paean to hubris was sitting there, dead on the floor.
It wasn't any of that, really. The tree probably fell over because it was too fat and the stand was so inadequate that it lurched forward after the tiniest little rattle, like a door slamming downstairs or a puff of air from an overhead duct.
I picked it back up. I swept up the needles and glass. I drilled a hole into a stud, screwed in a hook and lashed a loop of paracord to the trunk. I turned on the lights. I looked at the tree.
This has to mean something, I thought.
Then I thought, no. It doesn't. Sometimes a tree falling is just a tree falling. Christmas is just Christmas. It doesn't have to mean anything. What matters is what it means to you.