We took down the tree tonight. It's funny how the magic of Christmas seems to build for days, weeks even. But after everything, it takes only an hour or so to strip off the lights and baubles, chuck the dry brittle tree on the curb outside, and vacuum up the needles. It's as if the tree was never there at all. And the magic is gone—till next year.
Sometimes I welcome a clean orderly house after Christmas. I enjoy putting things away and moving the furniture back into place. But this year, I just wanted the tree to stay forever. I'm very sad that it's sitting outside in the snow right now, cold and lonely, but for a passing car every once in a while.
I will peek outside to check on it every now and then, to make sure it hasn't rolled onto the street. Then the city truck will be by this week to carry it away—to the factory on the other side of town, I imagine, where it will eventually become the plume of smoke that we see from afar rising into the sky.