I am sitting in my living room looking at my Christmas tree. It’s the last day of January. I finally got all the ornaments put away, but the tree remains with its lonely string of lights.

If it were a real tree, it would be long gone. Only its sad pretense of reality has kept it standing here, in my front window, where everyone can see it. I stopped plugging in the lights a couple weeks ago. No sense in looking like an idiot in front of the neighbors.

It is a metaphor, my right brain says. You see only trees, no forest. It is a symbol of your inability to see anything but false pieces of reality. (My right brain is definitely a forest person, a metaphoric, holistic, big-picture seeing observer. It doesn’t really care whether I put the tree away or not; it just likes metaphors.)

I’m just lazy, my left brain says. Hey, at least I put away the ornaments. It’s not like it’s going to start a fire or anything.

Actually, I’m more of a root person, as I’ve observed before. This tree has no roots, which is why it provokes no deep emotions in me. I never had a fake tree before. All the real trees I used to put up at Christmas gave their lives to produce a few days of anticipation, joy, memories. They gave up their roots to stand in a bowl of water and pretend to be alive so I could feel less depressed.

This ‘tree’ served the purpose – it held all my ornament-memories, filled the right spot in the living room, and reminded me of a tree.

Today I’ll unwind the lights, fold up the branches, and put it back in the box until next December. I won’t have to drag it to the curb, spraying dry needles everywhere that will get caught in the vacuum hose. It will make a clean, graceful exit and leave no metaphors behind.


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