Sunday, December 1, 2013

December camera

December 1, a candle in the dark tonight joined by six others from ongoing Hanukkah, now Thanksgiving-free!

I'm going to try something this month that I did four years ago when this blog was new—in the spirit of seizing or seasoning or scavenging the day. Here's an excerpt from that other December 1:

There's one way of slowing down that cascade of days. December has its own calendar. LIttle paper windows to open each day of the month until Christmas, usually revealing things like angels, toys, wreaths, ornaments. We even had one once when I was a kid. I remember it hanging in our kitchen, an exotic item in a Jewish household, but I enjoyed those little daily revelations.

One December first, a few years ago, I was wandering through the meadowy acreage of Alewife Brook reservation. Came upon a bird box, one of several put up to attract bluebirds. On a whim, I reached up, opened the hinged wooden lid and peeked inside. There lay a little field mouse, fast asleep. Of course there would be! I quickly reclosed the lid. And it occurred to me later that what I had here was the first opening of a natural advent calendar. One could fill all the days of the month (or any other month) with such unexpected revelations, ones that shed light on the other December. Or just passed the time interestingly.

As it happens, another mouse has crossed paths with me this November-December. Like many before it, this mouse betrayed its presence in the silverware drawer (a.k.a. the poop deck) with tiny dry black peppercorns. So last night, 11/30, faced with two or three egregious specimens—not periods, but commas—I baited a Victory mousetrap with a dab of peanut butter, placed it in the otherwise empty drawer, closed the drawer, and called it a foul but necessary night's work.

Come the morning, expecting to see the unfortunate rodent lying stiff under the sprung counterweight, I opened the drawer. Opened the first square of December's calendar to mouse. The dab of peanut butter solid gone. And a festschrift of periods, commas, semicolons, hyphens, and quotation marks scattered all around.

Whatever ensues after tonight (with two new traps), the first advent window for this December is the anticlimactic open silverware drawer strewn with apostrophes, and the useless mousetrap parked among them, sans peanut butter, sans mouse, sans everything.

Runner-up: a new box of Kleenex tissues, with the first one pulled up like an iceberg, which is  good way to catch a cold. But for sheer impact on the day, the mouse roars.

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