For Sue Vincent’s #writephoto prompt.
A presence hung around the houses full of Christmas glitter. There were so many, but the presence cloaked them all. It was a waiting, wondering presence, and no one noticed it because the times had turned since such things resonated in the human consciousness. The houses shone with electricity and tinsel, bright glass baubles and not so bright plastic ones. The air hummed with invisible waves, the twittering of shows, brittle, pointy voices, the throb and thrum of rhythms, the jerky zapping of channels and the whine of disappointment and tired fractiousness.
The presence touched the branches of fir trees, dead and drying in the overheated rooms, and felt nothing. They had been dressed and displayed for so long their life had ebbed away days before. It touched the cellophane thin leaves of the plastic trees and flinched from the toxins and the weary hands that produced them. Glass decorations pinged and glinted. The houses suffocated in the smells and noises of festivity.
In the streets, the first trees were lying, discarded and unwanted. In the houses, after the celebration, the plastic trees were folded up and put away in attics and garages. The presence delved into the distant past and found memories of fresh pine branches decorating wooden beams, of laughter and the banishment of want and cold just for one day, when the longest night was over and the new year was dawning.
Cycles ran round and round, but the presence had no understanding of the brash excesses of the new cycle, and the new world had no understanding of the presence. Except perhaps, in a few places, where the memories echoed, and the presence lingered in gardens where a pine tree stood, decked with food, and where chains of bright birds darted through the pungent green branches like living garlands of joy. The presence breathed gently on the wintry trees and settled back in the warm depths of the earth to watch through the eyes of foxes and badgers, hoping for the old cycle to come around again.