One Way Mirror

We took down our Christmas lights today. No more blue glow from the porch this evening.

A day or two after Christmas, the world changes — completely. Christmas trees and decorations are still up, but seem less relevant with every passing minute. Shame on anyone who dares to play (or hum or whistle) a Christmas tune. The excitement that started building in November has reached a climax and dissipated. The deadline of Christmas Day is dead, and new ones appear on the horizon. Valentine’s Day. Birthdays. Spring break. School holidays. The wheel of the year must trace an entire revolution, through budding, blooming and fading, before those coloured lights of the winter solstice look right again. The only way to get there is forward, through the raw brightness of the new year.

For some reason this abrupt shift was especially acute this year. It may be because on New Year’s Day a strong northeast wind came up, bringing a week of cold, dry weather. OK, it wasn’t true Canadian cold, but cold enough for us West Coast types — minus 5 degrees C (23 F) at the nadir, which came last night after the wind finally dropped. But air hovering around the freezing point feels murderously cold when propelled by a 30 or 40 knot wind. That wind seemed to blow Christmas and its trappings right out of town, intensifying the effect of the annual post-holiday shift.

Another slightly disconcerting thing was a feeling that I should be going back to work, as though the nine months since I retired on March 31st were just an extended holiday, now over. I have to say I’m happy to reassure myself that it’s not so, emphasized by the fact that the first new items of clothing and footwear I’ve acquired since then are without question “loafing clothes.”

Cozy lounging sweater (with hood) and purple felt slippers.

Cozy lounging sweater (with hood) and purple felt slippers.

Remember those geraniums (pelargoniums) I resolved to pull through the first episode of cold weather several weeks ago? Well, I added extra insulating materials and covered everything with a tarp. When I unveiled them today they looked alive, but I’m wondering if they’re actually green zombies that will eventually show their true deadness by turning brown.

Pelargoniums tucked in against the cold.

Pelargoniums tucked in against the cold.


  1. Hi Audrey,
    I know the feeling about something is missing when you first retire. Believe me it is short lived. Enjoy your retirement. Take a moment and think back to those hurried mornings, stressful days, and exhausting evenings. Now look around. That should put a smile on your face. Retirement like any other stage in your life is what you make it. I now have too many things and not enough hours in each day to get them all done. But who cares? It will be there tomorrow. I love retirement.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It is a bit discombobulating to make the transition from Christmastime to “the next year.” Our tree is still up, but we’re dismantling on Sunday. We’re gonna miss that shiny thing (fake aluminum, so appropriate for Trump’s America!).

    I do like to listen to “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” by Bill Evans throughout the year, though. It can get you through some of the harder parts, and it doesn’t even seem to be a Christmas song.

    Happy New Year to you n’ yours, Audrey!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jazz treatments of popular songs often turn them into different works altogether. One thing I noticed this year was the absence from the airwaves of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” probably because of the implied issue of consent or its absence. And I was disappointed not to hear Joni Mitchell’s “River.” That image of “a river to skate away on” has always appealed to me.
      Happy new year to you too, Kevin!


  3. Still having snow on the ground and more predicted throughout the next bunch of days give me a sense that it’s still midwinter and there’s still the magic of the season in the air. It’s such a treat. 😀

    The last few years have been nothing but a few flurries and then back to the ‘traditional’ Lower Mainland rain.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fresh new snow is magical, especially if you don’t have to shovel it. But for me, the mood of January is totally different from December, regardless of weather.
      I didn’t realize you’re located in BC. I’m in Victoria. That’s the thing about the Internet — the whole is just one big neighbourhood.

      Liked by 1 person

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