The Landscape

(Start at the beginning)

Noel’s Christmas –
Wednesday, December 15th

“The Landscape”

There were points in time when Noel’s fascination with Christmas lights would make you believe that they were the reason for the season to her.  On a whim, she would ask her Daddy to take her to see the lights.  And away they would go, Nick looking for a lights display they hadn’t been to yet that year.

Such was the case on this night.  It had been a work-from-home day for him, the current projects being much more manageable – especially since the company hired on a few more people.  They had dinner and once the sun had set, Noel popped that familiar request. 

“Daddy, take me to see the lights,” she asked, always with a soft voice that made it impossible to say no.

Picking up her diaper bag and taking her by the hand, out the door they went.

Now driving through a local residential area, it appeared that her soft voice had worked again.  Noel made up two travel mugs of hot cocoa for the trip, Christmastime turning her into a choco-holic.  And it wasn’t difficult to find Christmas lights.  By this point in the season, everyone who was going to decorate their houses with lights had done so.

And my, what creativity people had with their lights decorations.  Sipping the hot cocoa, Noel stared in wonderment as they drove by the houses very slowly.

There was The Candy Cane House, as it was affectionately called.  The family who lived at that house had more candy canes in the front yard than could be counted while driving by.  They always put up that display every year.  And it was always eye-catching.

Then there was The Evergreen House.  These folks had bought a real Christmas tree every year forever.  After the holidays, they planted these trees in their front yard.  There were now so many evergreens in their front yard that their house was partially blocked by them.  But they always did the multi-colored vertical light strands decoration.  And they always received attention because of it.

But there was a new display on this street that was dazzling, to say the least about it.  It was a front yard display that had a sugar plum fairy theme to it.  There was a lit-up sugar plum fairy in the center of the yard, surrounded by dark purple strands of lights that created the shape of a globe.  All around this globe were light purple strands of lights, in the shapes of arches.  And they looked like they were all jumping towards the sugar plum fairy.  Nick all-but came to a completely stopped when they passed by this house.

One house had Santa in a sleigh with all eight reindeer on the roof … all done with strands of Christmas light!  And the reindeer had animation that made them stand up on their hind legs.

And while it was very intriguing to look at, Noel had redirected her attention to an online search.  Looking up ‘sugar plum fairy’, she read that this was the ruler of the land of sweets – a character from The Nutcracker.  Continuing to read about it, she took no notice to Nick’s trek up to The Peak – a lookout area that would give them the ability to see the lit-up town from afar.

Pulling up to the parking spaces at The Peak, Nick leaned her seat back and reached for the diaper bag in the back seat.  She had gotten through the first travel mug of hot cocoa.  But she was a little damp even when they left the house.  And with her being distracted with her online search, a diaper change would be quick and simple.  If nothing else, it would enable him to stop worrying about whether she was going to get a rash or not.

When finished, they got out of the car and walked up to the edge of The Peak.  When Noel saw the view, she put her cell phone away.  From a distance, she could see the different styles of how people had put up their lights.  And these differences clearly showed property lines.

In one area, every tree on the property lines was strung with lights.  But nothing was lit up in the middle of the property or in the house.  So it showed the perimeter.

In another area, the trees in the backyard were wound with lights in a circular fashion and the fence lines on either side of their long driveway were strung with lights, spun circularly around the fence boards.  And it all was the same color, a brilliant white.

A local church decorated every tree and bush on their property as well as the church building itself, lining the edges of the roof, the steeple and even the belfry.  It was this lining of the edges, including those around the windows and doors that made it stand out.

The woods by Fetterman Park were decorated with golden lights, every tree distinguished from all the others.  Seeing this, Nick remembered to give her and update about the skating rink.  Getting out his phone, he got onto the Park website, then showing her that the Horseshoe skating rink was indeed open this year.  It was listed on the website for Fetterman Park, after all!

It seemed every conceivable property below was in the Christmas spirit, every house and garage and tree strung with lights of every color imaginable … all wanting to be a part of the holiday beauty of the landscape.

Continue on to Thursday, December 16th



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