Rainbows of Light

Such a spur-of-the-moment love affair was the last thing I’d expected. It was love at first sight–clear iridescent Christmas tree lights–in the shape of pinecones. The shape part was purely incidental. It was the glittery rainbow effect that had me at first sight…and given that I already had lights, and also given what I had recently been through with the business of Christmas trees, I was officially out of that market.I had been recently been thrust into planning my first Christmas tree in nearly two decades–yikes–I’d never ‘planned’ a Christmas tree before, they just happened. But somewhere in the 20-year lapse from tree-dom, the ornaments of those trees gone-by had also gone by, to some place unknown to me.

So, the other day I was in that store with great prices on everything from electronic gizmos to dental floss–and, no, I don’t mean Walmart. This one doesn’t have lowly customers, it has “guests”…paying guests, as it turns out, but apparently “guests” in some sense of the word I haven’t quite figured out. And oh yes, pronounce this store’s name with a French twist if you want a touch of faux sophistication.

Anyway, there I was, list in hand for items all found in the “health and beauty” department, and heaven knows I could spend a lot of time and money there, when it struck me–and who knows why at that moment–that I should perhaps check the Christmas department in case there were any ornaments I liked enough to invest in. It was mid-November, so according to the store seasons, I was already way late.

Of course, the Christmas Department was conveniently located at a distance the length of two-and-a-half football fields away, but that’s all part of the bargain–this store lets you get your exercise without having to pay extra for it.

Once there, I immediately saw that this was not going to be simple. What kind of a tree was I planning? I hadn’t given it a nanosecond of thought, but there before me was an array of choices so great that it was obvious that planning had to figure in at the top of the yet-to-be-made list.

I already had lights, or so I thought, so the choices were all of the non-illuminating type. One color, all colors, a color theme? Sophisticated, whimsical, a subject theme–snowmen, music, birds, bears, toys, candy canes, gingerbread men, snowflakes, stars? Good grief–when I was a kid it was just a mish-mash assortment of this ornament and that, and all together on the tree they made magic.

But starting as I was from ground zero, it was hard to envision the magic from any combination of what was in front of me. The more I looked, the worse it got, and yet the pressure was building as I stood there in crippling indecision.

I kept changing my mind and wandering back and forth from aisle to aisle as if I were a conductor on a stationary train that kept checking and re-checking the credentials of each train car’s contents. It seemed each time I checked, a new arrival had appeared on the scene. It would have been infinitely more helpful if some of what was originally there had somehow disappeared.

Finally–and I can’t emphasize enough how long it took to get to that word–I had assembled what I hoped would make the magic I’d been looking for. The theme, if that’s what it is, is glitter–meaning the stuff that sparkles, not to be confused with its cousin, glitz. Glitter is subtle, glitz hits you between the eyes. Glitz is out, glitter is in.

Stars–and a few snowflakes–are the predominant shapes against a background of glittered balls. Silver and gold prevail, with the occasional splash of color.

So, it was on another day in another store, no longer caught in the tree decorating conundrum, I saw those clear lights with the iridescent rainbow sparkle, I knew that they and I had been meant to meet–as unlikely and unexpected a meeting as a successful encounter generated from an online dating site. Possible, but so very rare.

Now to find the tree itself–and just thinking of the attendant agonies awaiting me there is enough to make me give up now and eliminate the need for a tree by returning all of those glittered and glimmering ornaments…except for those irresistible, illuminated, iridescent rainbows of light. Love at first sight, after all, is nothing to ignore.

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