This is my favorite time of the year: The fall, and along with it, the holiday season with which in my memory it is most connected. Since I was in elementary school, the time from Halloween, all the way up until Christmas Day, I would get this emotional high. I revel in it. It starts upon seeing those Halloween decorations going up in the stores, and further aroused when I see the monster costumes and the orange-&-black candy for sale. Then — and I don’t remember if it was always like this, but it’s like this now — as soon as the Halloween bunting comes down, the Christmas trimming goes up, and the momentum toward Christmas Day is underway.
A lot of my own feelings associated with the season stem from a remembrance of the rhythms of my school days. We would be at this time approaching a period when we would be getting a lot of time off from school. Because I was always a person intimidated by authority, it was a time when I would be less stressed. First, toward the end of November, we’d be released for Thanksgiving, on the Wednesday afternoon just before Thanksgiving Day, and we wouldn’t be coming back until the following Monday. That’s four days off in a row. Then the following month, we had that awesome Christmas vacation, starting around the 15th of December, and we would not be returning until the day after New Year’s. Leading up to that vacation, a lot goes on, a sensory explosion: Christmas plays, decorating trees, glittery store windows, Santa Clauses everywhere, reindeer, creches, fake snow, Christmas carols. Everything was so different from the rest of the year, the bustle required to bring all of this about is an excitement into itself. It’s a burst of activity, a scurry. So, like Pavlov’s dog, my emotions change during this season, responding to the colors and sounds, and my mood becomes upbeat, all because of those rhythms established in my school days.
So it is intrinsically connected to my deepest memory, a conditioning that runs down my brain stem throughout my body. And because of what it’s all about — Christmas Day — it peaks on December 25th. For the last two years, I’ve lived alone — which is normally a totally awesome thing — so when, at the end of the day of festivities with others, I retire to my own abode, a lonesomeness sets in. That feeling of joy has now peaked and I can feel that something about it wasn’t entirely genuine, and now Christmas carols have a longing in their melodies. The holiness is gone. Now, there’s just me, in an apartment.
I don’t know where this was going when I started it, other than a need to get these reflections down because it is again that time of year. I has already begun. As a photographer for a friend, a went to a Halloween party, and these people know how to organize a party on the fly. They rented a hall, and let fly. Like I am for the entire season, I am an observer, and as a photographer, I’m allowed to both participate and do what i do best: watch. But I began to wonder, watching these friends really do it right, why I didn’t truly participate. I decided I would change this. “Next year,” I told myself, “I am going to put on a costume.” It’s been years.