Friday, 12 November 2010

Brighten your house as you are able...

I think I must have been in Grade Six. I was standing at the edge of the schoolyard at View Royal Elementary in Victoria at the close of a school day, looking east toward the bridge that crossed an errant offshoot of Portage Inlet, where Helmcken Road ducked under the railway trestle and climbed the hill.

That's when it hit me, a vision in my mind's eye, glowing softly in multi-coloured lights from a long way away.

Christmas is coming.

When I was a kid, November 12th was the day the Christmas decorations went up in the stores, including those marvelous complex window displays with mechanical manikins. (Does anybody do these anymore?)

For many years I struggled and managed to cling to that magical tingle of anticipation that set in the day after Remembrance Day. Sadly, I discovered it's easier to believe in the magic when you're not the one waving the wand. Gradually, the decorations appeared earlier and earlier until the fake Christmas trees and wreaths festooned the stores in late October, and as I grew older, the responsibility of making Christmas happen shift more on to my shoulders. When my children arrived, thump! Christmas lay across my back like Santa's sack.

However, I did see the lights glowing behind their eyes. Today, younger daughter shudders and shivers without explaining why. Does she hear distant music and see something shining just out of reach?

I'd better make sure it's not just her imagination.

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