The sky was a heavy shroud that wanted to sift some snow onto the town land but none came. Instead it proferred a vague attempt by sending icy raindrops that fell like shards of glass onto my face as I walked down the road with the dogs. I kept walking though determined not to be daunted by the weather. It has won over so often in the past few days and I was suffering from the lack of being outdoors, cabin fever had done enough damage. I wanted to clear my head. The cold icy rain helped.
Thankfully, there was little traffic to hamper my path. And the dogs were thrilled to be out sniffing along the way, stopping now and then to do their territorial thing on the edge of a beautiful stone wall, a tuft of grass. It is not easy to walk two dogs at the same time. Their leashes keep getting tangled, Missy walks ahead of Lenny in a bossy manner and Lenny tries to keep up by crossing her path. Still we managed.
I passed by a house where a lone woman was decorating a white Christmas tree. It was one of those artificial jobs with blue flashing lights. She looked quite lonely in her house all by herself doing something that is supposed to bring joy and togetherness and all those other good things. But there was an air about her that made me think she might as well have been dusting the furniture or running the vacuum or something far more functional than the way I imagine dressing a tree should be. Her very movements spoke of efficiency rather than grace and because I know of her circumstance in a distant kind of way, the whole picture spoke of desperation. A salvaging of something that was lost a long time ago. I can only project what she was thinking as she traced the lights around the white tree but she is a mother too and sometimes things don't work out with children. They run amok no matter how you tried to guide them along the way. But I do recall how one of her sons many years ago taunted me and my children as we walked by her house. This is many years ago I hasten to add. I remember going to the house to request that her son cease his malicious words. I remember the mother saying in a defensive way that he (her son) was only trying to be friendly. I remembered all that when I read of that same son's homophobia on a certain night not so many years ago. And so I wondered how this mother really felt today as she decorated a glittering tree. Did the tree signify hope? Or was she, as I suspected, just going through the motions?