At this time of year I like to search for unique Christmas tree decorations. Not to buy, but to enjoy looking at. Typically office lobbies don’t have them. Neither do department stores. However there are places that make an effort to showcase the novel and the unique.
My favorite store that tops my list is Carrigg’s of Carmel. At this time of year they have more than a dozen decorated trees in the store that delight and transport you to Christmas heaven. Forget the shopping, the eating, and the staying in Carmel. I go just for the design therapy at Carrigg’s.
I stroll from room to room. When something catches my eye, I take a quick picture with my camera that I keep hidden in my jacket. After the second room of sensory enchantments, I stop being stealthy and keep the camera in full view. There’s so much to photograph and I don’t care who sees me. I’m like a child in a magic castle.
Whoever decorates the store is a genius. There’s so much to absorb it takes several hours, but I limit myself to drooling for 60 minutes. Besides, Alf is waiting for me on the street reading headline news on his phone. Calvin is pulling at his leash attempting to meet and greet all the other pedigree dogs walking their owners.
Calvin says, “Carmel needs a pop-up store for dogs with Christmas delicacies like rabbit jerky.”
Time and time again Alf and I marvel at people who are immensely talented and yet shy away from their gifts. We know of several with writing gifts who never put pen to paper. Others who have a terrific fashion sense and keep it all to themselves. And there are those who do pursue their artistic callings with courage and conviction, but with little support from friends and loved ones. In fact, they’re often told to get a real job. What is it about art that garners less respect than other professions like business or engineering? Heck, there’s more respect for the G-Man (garbage collector) than a painter.
We live in a day of practicality. Does the job make money? Will it sustain you and a spouse and children? Will it give you a house, a car and a yearly vacation? Or will you have to eat out of a paper bag full of moldy veggies?
Being an artist is not for the fainthearted. It wasn’t easy living for Van Gogh and his generation nor is it any easier for people today. But one thing is different. Anybody with an ounce of skill is posting like mad on social media in the hope of getting noticed. Consequently there’s a lot of bad art out there. There’s also some good stuff. The serious artist, however avoids it all in favor of a website with class.
It’s like commercial fiction. The serious literary types look down their erudite noses at the fabulously successful writers who make millions with their popular, badly written novels. Secretly they probably wish they could make that kind of money, but they wouldn’t dare try. It would be beneath them.
So what’s an artist to do? I say keep at it, no matter how difficult the task. Post away. Talk it up. Send it out. You never know what door will open.
Calvin says, “I’m so glad I’m only talented in one thing – food. What’s for dinner?”
I survived the big storm today. Barely.
Our subway system is not prepared for anything but normal. A few drops of rain and all the trains run late.
With today’s downpour that came down in sheets, the rails were slick and the trip into the city was a jerky experience.
Our conductor looked worried. He ran up and down the cars unlocking and then locking us inside in case we fell out. Did he know something we didn’t? How could we fall out? We spent a good deal of time paralyzed on the tracks.
We finally made it into the city. Then came the adventure of walking to the office. Or should I say crossing the Jordan to the office. Except the waters didn’t dry up for me. I waded my way there, getting progressively more drenched as I neared my destination. By the time I arrived, my freshly washed hair looked like a mop, and I was soaked through from the waist down. Never mind that I wore rain boots, a raincoat and held an umbrella. There was no hope of staying dry.
I don’t care how it comes down.
Rain is moody weather. With it comes gray skies, glistening sidewalks, and splashing water from automobile tires. If you’re in the country, then it’s broody skies with different shades of gray, crackling lightning, and drumming thunder. It’s God’s theatrical show free of charge.
I grew up with thunderstorms that stopped your heart they were so powerful. I also grew up with earthquakes. My relationship with God started when I was a child. I wasn’t going to fool around with someone who could produce such power on demand.
I still laugh every time the weatherman makes a prediction.
Like today. Okay it’s wet, but nothing close to the fear instilled in us by the media to stay home and keep dry.
Where is everyone’s sense of awe?
It’s countdown to Christmas. Yes, I’m using the word Christmas.
The stores are twinkling with lights.
The bell ringers are waving. Ringing is against the law now.
The beggars are begging, the singers are singing, and the fiddlers are fiddling.
I wonder what they’ll outlaw next.
But the shoppers aren’t shopping. They’re just looking. And buying online.
That’s what I did this year.
It made it so much simpler. But boring.
I go into overdrive when pushing into a mob of women to get to the cosmetic counter. Or ripping a pair of shoes out of another woman’s hands and buying them. The word glee comes to mind.
Let’s not forget the parking lot assaults for a parking space. That’s all out war.
And the juggling of bags, boxes and purses draped from your arms and shoulders that make you look like a shopping cart without wheels.
It’s the sights and sounds of Christmas.
It’s the festive delights of materialism.
Don’t go shopping without it.