12 DAYS OF BROOKLYN: And There Shall Be Trees

Day Eleven 12 Views of Brooklyn
Photograph by Joseph Caserto. See Who's Who.

Photograph by Joseph Caserto. See Who’s Who.

dec16IT HAPPENS SO SUDDENLY. ONE DAY YOU TURN A FAMILIAR CORNER and – voilà!  there you are in the midst of an evergreen forest! The pine scent is intense, the prickly branches reach out to you, it’s heady and exciting: Christmastime, Christmastime! Soon you realize your brain is being bathed in or battered by holiday music. O Tannenbaum jostles Rudolph the Red….Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah (preferably sung by k. d. lang) co-exists with Handel’s Messiah (preferably one you can sing along with in a church). You’ve shopped and staggered home to wrap. The tree lights are on. Who’s got the tape? Grandmother makes her annual joke: No packing in the peekages! Stockings are hung by the fire or maybe just draped over the back of the couch. When emotion overtakes you, it often comes by stealth – at the midnight service when a pure young voice sings the first notes of O Holy Night, or after the stockings have been emptied and the wrappings are in tatters and the family holds hands to give thanks over the turkey dinner. Or maybe it’s private, when you step outside to remember childhood celebrations and the people who loved you who now are gone and you silently thank them for the year you got the bike of your dreams and forgive them for the Christmas of the Scratchy Socks and Really Stupid Sweater. Take a deep breath, smell the pine wreath, give in to it all – and laugh a little as Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer from a car passing in the slushy street chimes in with your iPod, “Good King Wenceslas looked out/On the feast of Stephen/When the snow lay round about/Deep and crisp and even….” Here’s to 2012 and another fine Christmas.

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