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  • Today begins the process that will lead to the lights. It will be a 2 – 3 week process that will take me from the brisk, frosty chill of a November morn to the bitter cold and windy early December freeze. While, at this moment, I’d much rather sit here in the warmth of my cave, in my writing corner’s comfy chair, feet up, laptop in lap, pecking away on the keys, thinking and ruminating on it, it’s the living and doing it that will bring the satisfaction that this process brings to my soul, to my being, to my winter.

    This is how I usher it in, embrace it, and remember those late Autumn and early Winters passed. Draw in a puff of the inhaler (to fight back the breathless demons of exercise-induced asthma), hold it 10 seconds, and then another. Pull on my thick woolen socks and yard-work boots, dawn several layers – long-sleeved T, Flannel, light jacket, that can be peeled off, one by one as the body heats up. Ipod and ear-phones are optional, depending on how well the mental D.J. is in synch with the day’s tasks. If he’s on it, no need for the Ipod. Mental music works so much better. If not, there is the Ipod. Grab the rake – find the tarp – start raking.

    The leaves must all be gone before the lights, and penguins, and North Poles, and Frosties (the 8 footer and the 18 footer), and Santas, and Charlie Browns and Snoopies, and Reindeer, and trains, and rope lights calling for Peace, see-saw Santa-Frosty, and all the rest, can rise from their 11 month slumber in the attic and basement storage area beneath the steps, and for 30 days, come back to life in celebration of the light, the joy, the ringing in of the season of light. To brighten up the year’s darkest day, and to bring a smile to children, and cars slowing down to have a look, and Kathy revealing just the hint of a smile and a satisfied look on her face as they do. ‘Tis the Season.

    Thinking about everything that will go into creating that world on our front lawn could wear me out before I begin. So much to do. So many extension cords to wrestle with. So many decisions to be made. Adjustments to be made in the middle of it. Working to get it just so, just right. But, for now, for now is the easy part. Just grab a rake, and start raking.

    I love this ritual, this labor, this chill, this change of the seasons.

    It’s time – now, where’d I leave those boots?
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