Laura Lofgren: Parting with stuff is such sweet sorrow


My Christmas tree is still up. There, I said it and can accept it and pretend that everyone else's tree is still up, too.

I also have pumpkins and gourds in my kitchen from October. I think I'm the only one on that boat. But nothing's gone rotten pumpkin-wise and my tree is downright gorgeous still.

But this weekend, I daresay, will be the end to all this nature in the Lofgren residence. Why hold onto all these things?

Laziness is definitely a factor, but so is time. No time to do what you want when you say you want to do it, even though you're sitting right next to it and it's hovering in your peripherals.

But I also attribute holding onto these plant remains to holding onto memories. The pumpkins were supposed to be carved by my boyfriend and me, but we never got around to doing it in October. So in November, we said we'll carve them into Thanksgiving-themed jack-o-lanterns. Nope.

Come December, thoughts of snowmen and Santa Claus on the gourds made us grin at the irony, but again, too busy/lazy. Now it's January and we're planning to keep them around long enough to paint them Easter egg colors!

I have to veto this idea. It's crazy, but also genius. The fact that those pumpkins have been around this long is meaningful in a weird autumn-y way.

As for the Christmas tree, we have loppers and contractor bags to make for easy dismantling, but the thing is still living and is the best tree I've ever decorated. It's also the first tree my boyfriend and I bought together.

Yes, mushy lovey memories, but it's difficult to just hack away at something you found with the person you love, decorated with those ornaments you grew up with and the ones you bought together, only to throw it in black bags to be carted off to the dump.

These things need to get gone, though, in order to move on to the next event in life that will end up as a distant memory.

I always say change is good, and recycling is better, but things need to become different in a person's life in order for them to grow and learn.

This weekend, my boyfriend is out of town. If we don't dismantle the damn tree some night this week, I'll finally put away the ornaments and the lights, chop off as many tree limbs as I can and throw them into an ugly bag.

I'll also be ridding my home of those pumpkins. But instead of throwing all holiday remains out, I plan on going for a hike in my back yard, up a hill to an old apple orchard. There, I think I can find a spot for the pumpkins and the tree branches to decay and fall back to the earth as spring comes.

Or maybe I'll build a snowman with a pumpkin head and Christmas tree branches for arms, leaving a memory for some hiker to come across.

*Note from the columnist: The disposal of the pumpkins is still up for debate. Any input on the situation from you, the reader, would be A-OK.

To reach Laura Lofgren:,
or (413) 496-6229.
On Twitter: @BE_LauraL_


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