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Christmas Light


Writing in the local paper. Local issues with a global take. I never translate literally and the editor trims at will to make it fit. Here's my version, then theirs.

For some, the holidays are a welcome time of routine. Of doing what you've always done and feeling a sense of security in knowing that the gravy is going to be lumpy, tending towards mediocre and the turkey, tough but good. For me, the glow wore off the moment Santa lost my address and since then I've either searched out or simply have found myself in different places on this equinoxal event. I mean, when I was young, I spent many a Christmas way below 30 in my hometown, wondering if even the man in red himself was going to bother venturing outside. Since leaving that northernmost outpost, I've seen things like more than a metre of snow fall in NYC over the holidays, painting the town white while people x-country skied up Madison avenue. I spent one x-mas eve swimming with dolphins off the coast of Yemen, camped out on the beach below the ruins of the town from where it is said that one of the three wise men departed.  I've eaten a Christmas curry in Bangkok, toasted with aguardiente in Bogota and skirted disastrous floods in Venezuela over the holidays but I can’t think of anywhere where the holiday season lasts as long as it does here in Spain. Once upon a time the season began here with the mega long weekend but it now reaches further back to the day after American thanksgiving whose shopping holiday now echoes along the display window of Pintores Street. The first cold snap to give Extremadura its extreme has finally come to a city where the stores look to a very recently illuminated sky while the sellers of nativity scene pieces wonder why the man in Rome has decided against the donkey and ox. Civil servants check their accounts now and then, wondering if it is in fact true and there won’t be coal in their stocking while people passing through the Plaza Mayor wonder if the curiously angled xmas jaima will slide further downwards. Cuts are everywhere and everyone will accuse each other of starting them but believe what you may, Saturnales was a time for the slaves to receive extra rations and free time. Personally, I always look forward to the day when the sun starts to make its come back and try as they may, no one can stop that...yet.

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