"It is found again.
It is the sea
Gone with the sun."
Arthur Rimbaud, from 'L'Éternite', 1872
"Thunder! Lightning! Swedish meatballs!"
Anne Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
"I keep my fingernails long
So they click when I play the piano
And I’ll keep them that way
Until the swallows come back to Capistrano."
Ever get the feeling your family would love you more if you didn’t insist on decorating the house for every goofball occasion which every manic greeting card writer ever imagined? Go with that feeling.
St Patrick’s day is the one day of the year we celebrate happy drunks: the rest of the year apparently conceded silently to mean and nasty drunks without so much as a wink or a nudge. Today, shamrocks cut from shiny green cellophane adorn hundred of household hutches housing Hummel figurines. This, I submit in support of my argument that we over-decorate for seasonal observances. The net effect of these desperate decorations is often to confer an unfortunate and forlorn mood rather than the celebratory feel you were maybe shooting for.
On deck in the batter’s box, the Easter decorations are rubbing their tiny pastel chickadee claws together in anticipation of their turn next to adorn the sorry-ass hutch. As soon as the clovers are stowed away, the eggs and bunnies come out. What’s next? National Swedish Meatball Day? The International Festival Honoring Hairless Laboratory Mice? Wait, let me answer that. Next is March 19, the Feast of Saint Joseph, the day when the swallows return to Capistrano. Swallow nests look like small upside-down anthills, mud cones, hanging beneath every ledge of every pre-cast concrete building in the industrial parks surrounding the Mission San Juan Capistrano, an hour or two north of my town.
You retain free will. Give up the hutches and their “collectible” contents, and most of all their pathetic holiday decorations. Establish an account on e-Bay. Somebody out there will surely buy the dozens of small ceramic buildings with ceramic snow on their ceramic slate roofs and ceramic Xmas decorations in their tiny ceramic windows. If not, you may at least claim to provide occupational therapy for wounded vets and brain damaged crack heads who would otherwise not have a sheltered workshop to work in, or acres of shelves of free-cycled fake Hummel figurines to dust at the resale shops on decaying main streets of small towns across America.
Do I need to get outside more, or what?