Thursday, January 6, 2011

Westward Leading

I walked to the corner yesterday afternoon to post a letter after I came home from work. With the shortest day of the year in my rear-view mirror, I enjoy the opportunity to catch the (very) last rays of the (extremely) late afternoon sun before it disappears and another winter's night descends.

I expect to encounter Alfred Hitchcock as I turn onto Sachem Street and walk the block and a half to the post box by the beauty salon (the look of despair in the hairdresser's eye as I pass is disquieting) but I am always disappointed. I think of Alfred, "Al" I like to call him now that he's dirt, because as the shadows grown longer all the crows, and (I imagine) the other birds as well, start gathering to settle for the night. In the cold winter air their calls carry for miles and if you pass the wooded area they have chosen for the night while there's still daylight you can see hundreds and more crepe shrouds and shapes on branches shifting as they make themselves as comfortable as they can get.

I passed a discarded Christmas tree, trunk first stuck standing in what remains of a snowpile (after the flash thaw this past weekend, the chilly temperatures have returned) and realized today is the Feast of the Epiphany and for many, like that tree, the end of the Christmas season. Those tidings of comfort and joy sure had a short "use by" date, eh? The season came and went so fast the bananas are still green. Must have been all the myrrh.

As a child I loved singing "We Three Kings of Orient Are" making up in volume what I lacked in melodic convergence and content. I'm not sure how much those around me enjoyed my rendition though they certainly seemed appreciative when I stopped. Around these parts, it's all over for the shouting but in many cultures 3 Kings Day is savored and celebrated with far more than pitching the pine to the curbside.

Perhaps, as so many of us wanted to believe as children, if the Magi had brought Frankenstein, instead of frankincense, as one of the three gifts for the Christ Child, the holiday season might have outlasted even the deepest of snow piles. And given the gift of gold a real run for its money.
-bill kenny

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