Ghosts of Christmas past
Given I love living in rural Montana,
it's rare that I truly miss Manhattan.
However the holidays are the times
when I'm most homesick. There's a
bit of Christmas cheer here in the
boonies, yet it lacks the celebratory
aura that seems to overcome the city
that never sleeps. While I've never
attended the mosh pit frenzy of the
lighting of the tree at Rock Center,
I've watched it's erection, decoration,
and destruction for most of my life.
And let me tell you... God I miss it!
Along with anonymity, there is a unique
intimacy to living in the midst of a major
city. With so many people crammed into
such a tiny space, every inch is utilized.
And during the month of December, all
of said surfaces are decorated to the hilt.
Suddenly, for a few weeks the city joins
together in one glorious celebration. The
city that never sleeps becomes a city of
lights. The Empire State goes from blue
(Hanukkah) to red and green (Christmas)
as does the Helmsley at the base of Park.
It's the most wonderful time of the year!
Green with envy
Frankly one doesn't know what they have
until they lose it. I'll be the first to admit
that I absolutely do NOT yearn for those
tourists who crowd Fifth Avenue. But oh
how I miss Bergdorf Goodman's windows.
Glamor and glitz aside, what I yearn for
most is the fresh greenery that decks the
walls and halls throughout the city. Be it
the Upper Eastside, Murray Hill, Gramercy
Park, both Villages, SoHo, and even Wall
Street - everybody gets FRESH. Everyone
lets it all hang to. Transforming Manhattan
into a most MAGICAL METROPOLIS.
Sadly it seems the further one goes west,
the more prudent folks become. Life is
rather harsh and hence most deem less as
more. Hence in theory the rationale for a
lack of holiday decor. However in reality
I think said phenomena is not caused by
a lack of holiday spirit but rather a void
in seasonal inspiration. A hundred years
ago Lewistown was at it's peak. Thus the
locals decorated to the hilt. It's no wonder
given they'd all come here from another
place. Therefore they brought all of their
holiday traditions along with them.
Lost in the translation
Slowly over the next several generations
most of that inspiration seems to have
simply faded away. Convenience usurped
charm. After all it's much easier to drag
an artificial tree or wreath out of the attic
than leaving a trail of needles across town
and one's living room. But is that truly so?
Around here, sticking to tradition may take
some planning and a bit of hard work. Yet
isn't it worth it? Many claim they have to
make do with what they got. That most of
the "good stuff" isn't readily available in
town. If true, it's no wonder we've lost it!
Given from whence we came - Frank
and I aren't giving up that easily. While
it may take a bit of effort - we're more
than able to keep our fresh perspective.
Frank's brother "B" and dear "S" went
up to the cabin, cut, and brought us the
most amazing tree. A local gentleman
crafted our wreaths from fresh forest
goodies mounted on frames of rusted
barbed wire. Soon the florist delivers
forty yards of fresh pine garland to
festoon our banister and columns. The
fact is there's MAGIC here in Montana.
My hope is that along with satiating
our need for a bit of "home" we will
also inspire others. In reality there's
little to no difference between faux
and fresh. Pre-lit trees aside, getting
them from here to there is virtually
the same process. The difference is
the what accompanies the real stuff.
Once our home is fully decked out,
it smells amazing. That's something
one can't ever replicate via spray can
or candle. So whenever Frank or I
miss "home" we take a deep breath!