Saturday, December 13, 2014

Remodeling Santa's runway

With today's melting, we can almost see the driveway's dirt surface. The road, not so much. It's ice covered. At least for now. There have been and will be some other changes that may complicate Christmas this year even more than normal. I hope Santa's GPS includes latitude, longitude and altitude. This year our roof is about four feet higher than it was last year, and the TV antenna isn't exactly where it was either. Even if Santa doesn't have GPS (or does he?), Rudolph's nose should help Santa navigate these changes. For what it's worth, avoiding home remodeling in December is highly to be recommended. Installation of new windows requires moving everything away from the walls. Our heavy drapes, which help keep out the cold, are down and being cleaned, since they needed to be moved out of the way anyhow. All of this is creating human navigational challenges with the furniture already having been rearranged so we could fit a tree in the living room.

living room Christmas tree
living room Christmas tree
Photo by J. Harrington

Everything hanging on the walls will be taken down while the siding is being installed. I don't know if you've ever been in the kitchen of an old Norwegian farmer who hoarded newspapers and things. You walk through the aisles to get to the kitchen table. That's what I fear we're going to be coping with just before and after Christmas. The best solution I've come up with so far is to modify and adopt the perspective of small plane pilots. Any landing remodeling project you can walk away from is a good one. Now that I think about it, the landing part will apply to Santa time and again one magical evening soon. We'll have the cookies out in hopes that the changes don't scare or confuse him away.

Toward the Winter Solstice

Although the roof is just a story high,
It dizzies me a little to look down.
I lariat-twirl the cord of Christmas lights
And cast it to the weeping birch’s crown;
A dowel into which I’ve screwed a hook
Enables me to reach, lift, drape, and twine
The cord among the boughs so that the bulbs
Will accent the tree’s elegant design.

Friends, passing home from work or shopping, pause
And call up commendations or critiques.
I make adjustments. Though a potpourri
Of Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Jews, and Sikhs,
We all are conscious of the time of year;
We all enjoy its colorful displays
And keep some festival that mitigates
The dwindling warmth and compass of the days.

Some say that L.A. doesn’t suit the Yule,
But UPS vans now like magi make
Their present-laden rounds, while fallen leaves
Are gaily resurrected in their wake;   
The desert lifts a full moon from the east
And issues a dry Santa Ana breeze,
And valets at chic restaurants will soon
Be tending flocks of cars and SUVs.

And as the neighborhoods sink into dusk
The fan palms scattered all across town stand
More calmly prominent, and this place seems
A vast oasis in the Holy Land.
This house might be a caravansary,
The tree a kind of cordial fountainhead
Of welcome, looped and decked with necklaces
And ceintures of green, yellow, blue, and red.

Some wonder if the star of Bethlehem
Occurred when Jupiter and Saturn crossed;
It’s comforting to look up from this roof
And feel that, while all changes, nothing’s lost,
To recollect that in antiquity
The winter solstice fell in Capricorn
And that, in the Orion Nebula,
From swirling gas, new stars are being born.


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