In the glow of Christmas lights

I took a walk again last night. I was too lazy to get on my trainer and somehow putting on long johns and the warmest winter clothes I could find and venturing outside seemed to be the more welcoming alternative (that’s how much I hate indoor exercise!). I took my camera with me to get some shots of Christmas lights. I had it on “night mode” which keeps the shutter open longer to gather more light for the picture, but since human hands aren’t still enough, there’s a bit of scattery glow about all of them, making them blurry. I think they look kind of cool anyway, in a Munch, surrealistic sort of way so I’m posting them. Don’t look too close–it ruins the illusion they create. They are best viewed from afar.

This one is in the newer section of my neighborhood, which is a really pretty tree-lined section with newer houses and little old style lamp posts that give you the little town feel. There are no lamp posts in my section of the neighborhood. I live in the older part that was built in the 1970s. I think this section was built in the 1990s when they were trying to reinstate that small town look to new developments. I like it, though I suppose liking it makes me somewhat of a yuppie. So I feel guilty about liking it. (Remember: white picket fences and my strange attraction to the normalcy they represent.)

This is a really cool looking house in one of the other neighborhoods I walked in. I took one of my usual night walk routes that loops basically out of my neighborhood to hit the Stow Bikeway for a small portion of the walk. There are a lot of nicer neighborhoods and houses along this walk.

This house was in a blissfully lonely cul-de-sac in a development called Progress Park or something to that effect. The cul-de-sac was wooded and quiet and all the houses were really unique unto themselves. I felt strangely at home here. I could picture driving into one of the driveways every night, a dog and a husband to greet me at the door. The lots were wooded with no houses behind them.

Choo-choo! You’ve probably seen these lights before. The smoke from the train turns on and off to simulate movement. I thought it was cute. And the decorative little tree thing behind which is something a lot of people have but I still think they look nice despite the frequency at which I encounter them.

I thought this house’s decorations were pretty cool. I really have a fondness for icicle lights and tasteful lighted objects (such as the tree featured here).

Simple, but nice with all the different colors like that.

Along the Stow Bikeway. Dare I admit to a fondness for the deer-shaped lights too? I also love front porches and am depressed that my house can’t fit one with the way it is shaped.


Several houses along a street…

Great use of a corner lot. And notice the speed limit sign? I always miss those when I’m driving!

A house alight in green. Pretty cool!


I got a little bummed on my walk. It seems Christmas sometimes brings out the loneliness I feel and I get to missing my husband and other important people in my life. Sometimes I miss the concept of being a kid and what Christmas meant to me back then. I don’t want to have children just to–as everyone says you do–live Christmas through them. That doesn’t really work for me. I’ve watched children enjoying Christmas like I did when I was a kid and it doesn’t particularly rekindle the feeling I’ve lost. It’s like watching someone you barely know cry when they are upset–the feelings of what they are going through are completely disconnected with the emotions you’re experiencing. Sure, you can empathize, have an idea of what they are feeling through your experience of feeling something similar, but you’re not experiencing directly the emotions they are feeling at the moment, so it just kind of floats around you, missing your heart and mind.

It’s dumb to long for feelings and things that have longed passed you by. It’s even stupider for someone my age to wax melancholic like an old fool. Everyone older than me laughs when I refer to my youth. “What?!” they exclaim, “Why, you’re still in your youth.” Which is probably true. But I’ve driven down many roads and my shoes carry the dust of those travels. And I miss the scenes along some of those old ambling routes.

I suppose most holidays have a way of making single people feel lonely. Christmas hits me the worst. Since Mike died, I’ve felt a strange intertwining of loss and joy as I experience time with the friends and family who are still with me. I am both lonely and most unlonely (for lack of a better antonym). A walking contradiction, always.

I feel a change in the air. Remembering my experiences from childhood reminds me that traditions and situations only last so long, and then they are stuck forever like snow globes in your head–perfect and cheerful and beautiful always. It feels like some traditions might slowly be falling apart. I wonder what Christmas will be like for me in 20 years. Will I still see my cousins annually on Christmas Eve? Will it only be my immediate family on Christmas day? How will I feel when it all ends, when Christmas Eve is no longer the big H party, a tradition I’ve lived with since I first knew Christmas? How will I build my own traditions alone? Perhaps I will become one of those in denial this time of year, hustling purposefully off to some exciting destination just to busy myself out of feeling the loneliness.

For now, I just struggle to hang onto the rope as it starts to slip through my fingers. I’ll cherish each moment and, like I did when Mike died, deal with the situation when my fingers slide to the end of the rope and I tumble to the ground.

11 thoughts on “In the glow of Christmas lights

  1. I dont think mine has that on it… I’ve been all over the options on that camera. I dont remember seeing such a thing. But it does have a mounting screw on it for putting it on a tripod. I might have to use that for more ornate pictures. Though, I have to admit, I kind of like the surreal look of these pictures.

  2. The camera I had gotten a few years back didn’t have that but the new one does. It’s not an option you turn on, it’s one of the features and it does it automatically. We also have a tripod … one of the big ones and a little tiny table one too.

  3. Beautiful pictures MarsGirl. I have been feeling the melancholy that can come with changes at Christmas and other traditions. Having lost my sister on St. Patrick’s Day, it feels like Christmas will never be the same. I am trying to remember to appreciate what I have rather than feel the loss of what I don’t. It is hard though. Even changes in my personal relationships are tugging on me too. Deep inside, I realize how blessed I am and I know a new tradition will come. I like your idea of walking and taking the sights in.

  4. Erin, I have trouble adjusting to change. Never been very good at it. Even when it’s good change, I struggle with trying to deal with it a lot. Needless to say, I have had–and continue to have–a lot of growing pains in my life… I am a moody artistic type, I guess. ;)

  5. You’ve captured melancholy feelings of Christmas perfectly. I always wax nostalgic about childhood Christmases (especially since my dad died) and always worry about traditions dying, changing, and what my own traditions will become…Great post.

  6. Christmases after someone you’re close to dies is really hard… Especially when they are a big part of your Christmas memories… like my grandma H… and my grandma E. Even though my grandma E died way back in 2001, I still feel the pangs of missing Christmas with her…

  7. I just blame the lack of luster of Christmas on commercialization. Our culture is in a hurry to remove anything and everything special from any day so that they all look and feel the same. Stores open everday. Work everyday. Sameness everywhere. In generations passed, each holiday was practically an entire season of festivities and all work would shut down for days at a time. At my job now, work barely shuts down for one day to squeeze the holiday in quickly and get it over with. (although I am also aware that my own luster has lost some shine as I get older, too…)

  8. oops, I mentioned commercialization in my last comment but didn’t explain. So much of the luster that does remain in Christmas is based on businesses trying to spin a buck off of it. That combined with our culture’s desire to make evertything the same just turns into a big blah.

  9. No, I wasnt talking about the commercialism aspect that everyone harps on. The public part of Christmas was never a part of my Christmas celebration and it never affected how I felt about the holiday, so any changes in that doesnt really affect me much now. I’m talking about the inner spirit–something within me has changed and gone. It has nothing to do with anything other than losing those who were a part of the holiday tradition for me for so many years–particularly my grandparents. It’s a change in the way we do our traditions within our family. A change in mood within that, even though for the H’s we’re still following the traditional format, but it’s a little emptier for me than it used to be, there’s some spirit missing from it, and I think that spirit was alive in us through our matriarch, my grandma H. Now I realize as time goes on that I have to start making my own traditions. I’m a little scared by this because the holiday to me meant, always, my family. Whereever we were at in life, we came together on these two days… It was our ritual. And now we sort of follow through with the motions a little vacantly, not quite as enthusiastic as we used to, like the air is slowly leaking from a balloon.I guess I wouldnt be so depressed about the whole thing if Mike were still alive because we did start to build our own tradition and maybe that would have distracted me from the fading familiar ones enough that I wouldnt be depressed about them… I dunno. Maybe I’d always wax a little meloncholic about the change due to the way I am… Either way, it’s the internal spirit I’m talking about not the external.I’m writing an upcoming entry, I think, about what Christmas means to me as a quasi-Christian (having been raised that way but not anymore). Stay tuned.

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