I was thinking of a way to write about a particular feeling of Christmas, when I came upon this old piece I never posted (least, I don’t think so). Turns out it says pretty much everything I wanted to say now. Not so surprising, perhaps, as it comes from the same place, that’s lit up just the same. Happy Christmas, please, y’all.
All Christmases are gathered by the tree’s green light, the room closed with curtains and no lights from the hall, entire dark – carols and such ecstatic, quiet-delicious promise and new life in plastic, red and batteries, new life entering my own. For so aware was I of all I owned that a kind of immigration would take place; ceremonious and trance-making and serious; for toys, objects, things – in red and orange plastic, blue metal: the actuals imprecise but the memory sharp around the behaviour and state of mind. A little green light in my eye, flaring and rayed and moistening. Then the following bright long days with crafts, doomed (nevermind) hobbies; Spirograph, complicatedly at the table, where my cold turkey happens, withdrawing from tiny green lights, a blaring radiator and a wombing, magical room.
Early evening Christmas Eve, the rituals of a child and his religion of glitter and glass; a Victorian boy, Edwardian girls, in 1973. A flushed face in the glow of green, and family transmogrified into strange angels or at least the touched and merry. I cling to the carpet, its folded, rounded edges at the stairs, under the sockets by the television’s legs; cling and soar and watch the room and squint, scrunched-eyed, at the starry tree.
Church service, at the altar or not, delivers the kicking sex of Christmas; butting and layered; the congregation a flyblown colony of bright, good lust; ruddy and powdered, scraped and newly knitted. Crochet, nylon, French cologne; the mass is electric and occasional jeans and leather catch my breath: adrenalin, esteem and anticipation, the service a deferral of the best of the day to come – a delicious parading before, and before tripping giggling to the stellar heat of oven birds, sherry and absolute physical, sensual, sensuous joy, selfish, fabulous love.
Christmas is the ultimate upstairs – the heart’s bedroom made boudoir.
Everyone is ready, bride-like, by the lights of Christmas. Every year I am falling in love. Every year, falling in love. Singing, eating, drinking and in the mood – palms and ear to the ground, listening to the earth’s hibernating heart, its lights low: clothing picked out by torch beam. A sock. New gloves.
If I had to invent a religion it would be of light – green light.
And its roots would be in the Northern Lights, and all ceremonies would look truly to The North. The place would be… well, let’s consider a bid from Finland. A place of pilgrimage, of self-realisation, lightfulness. No priests, no packdrill beyond pantone and ampage, or howsoever green illumination might be both standardised and revered – and yet no standardisation, no controls. It’s your own green light on, yes, your tree. Low to the carpet; green light upon the earth, a small pool of spilled light, the end of an 8-stud LEGO dipped in it, its own colour sacrificed, like the suddenly new colour of a car waiting under a streetlamp; our ride home.
At home the aurora borealis machine is switched on and the wonder of Luminas quickens our tipsy hearts. Beds are moved into the living room. Bohemian Rhapsody loudly as we fall towards 1976.