One of the things that I have enjoyed for many years has been Christmas lights. I am hopelessly enamored with the mystical beauty hidden in our world. As a child, I used to dash around the front yard the morning after the first frost, trying to find the beautiful diamonds that shimmered all through the grass. I was old enough to know that it was just sparkling crystals of ice, but the sense of wonder remained unchanged. Christmas lights are kind of like that too.
I know that they are small bulbs, running on electricity, manually placed by people, but to see them at night, it’s just beautiful. It’s like my ice crystals all over again- the lines and ridges of homes have some how been frozen in crystalline colors, the windows are lined with glowing fireflies, the stars themselves have fallen to eye level, and it’s almost magic.
I downplay this love sometimes, because I am an adult, and that pesky sense of wonder is something that I was supposed to lose at puberty. Secretly though, I squeal internally when I see my neighbors start decorating their homes. I wish that I could afford to buy and hang so many lights myself, but this stage of life isn’t really conducive to impulsive spending on that scale.
So, instead of my lights, I’m using pictures from a place called Oglebay resort, in West Virginia. When I was young, my family used to pile into the cars and go driving through the neighborhoods to see people’s lights, and once or twice, we made a really long drive to go to a place like Oglebay. They are fond memories for me, points of bright light in my often dark and painful childhood.
Maybe that’s why I still cling to them, and to the love of wonder and beauty: I love these things more strongly because of how significant my enjoyment of them was. How significant it still is. That’s just fine with me.