Saturday, December 24, 2005

Mill Avenue Nights: Christmas Eve Day

Christmas Eve day - this'll be a neat one on Mill Avenue. 

They have decked the streets with lights, wrapping the treesin a glittering wonderland. They wrap the trunks in rising spirals and dripfrom the branches in an icicle haze. Gigantic multicolored fir trees of lightshang from the nearby power-transfer station towers. One of them isred-white-to-blue, looking like a flag scrunched up and hung; the other isgreen and red like a tapestry of candy-cane lights. 

People wander the streets aimlessly, the street preacherscome out to shout about commercials on TV and nobody listens to them as usual.However, even while the street kids sit, wrapped up against the relative chill,and talk to passersby more people pause to listen and talk to them. Theychuckle and laugh at our jokes when we ask for change for booze or debauchery;grin and hang their heads when they have no money—but offer cigarettes whenthey have them.

Tourists stand on the corner of 6th street, glaring across the way into the courtyardof Coffee Plantation. The coffee house and the now dead building that onehoused Duck Soup are surrounded by a cascade of lighted trees—igniting thecrossroads like a Beltane bonfire. The half-light of the Christmas lightsilluminates walkers into an ever shifting masquerade pool of people, facesflickering in and out of focus here and there. Suddenly brought into clarity bya flash, and then dimming away into the hustle-and-bustle again. 

Smiles all around as we descend into the night.

Hoping, wishing, wondering—what this New Year has broughtand will bring to all of us.

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