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Race for Lights

Our neighbors on the corner are decked out. They’ve got the double-stroke blinking lights that drip over the upstairs porch, the reef with a big red bow on the door, the velvety poinsettias lined up exactly in a straight line in the window ledges, and, of course, inside: the notorious pine tree caresses the top of the white ceiling and extends halfway into the living room. Presents have started collecting underneath. At night I snuck over there to marvel at their glory:

It’s contagious because the neighbors next door have a tree in place as well. Is it a coincidence that its the native Guatemalans who have it together enough to get the tree up before Black Friday? An online search for “Where to buy a pine tree in Antigua?” produces all kinds of random things, including Hiper Paiz’s (our Walmart) upcoming Christmas specials. I close the window and sigh. I want a tree farm, I want to plant a tree for the one we kill with one fell swoop with our Salvadorean machete. I want to hike up a mountain to pick the right one and throw it over our shoulders and triumphantly descend with pine needles scraping our skin until a rash becomes our medal. I want my hands to smell of bark. Am I asking for too much? Tomorrow, I will knock on the neighbor’s door and praise their tree and their foresight, but mostly I will ask them where they got it. It’ll be my first Christmas in Guatemala since I was a kid and the tree is the harbinger. How can I just walk past it without paying due respect?

4 thoughts on “Race for Lights

  1. Edgar Carias says:

    Actually, Paiz is owned by Walmart.

    Regarding getting a pine tree in Antigua, I recommend not doing it. Deforestation in Guatemala, especially around Antigua is out of control. If you must, go to “el mercado”, right on the back, you will find everything you need for your Christmas tree.

    Do not try and get one yourself, local poachers will promptly report you to the police and you really don’t want to deal with the “newest legal system” in Guatemala.

    My suggestion, get a nice Nativity scene or “nacimiento”.

    Good luck and “felices pascuas”.

  2. bradelectro says:

    I think we’re going to need more than a wreath to compete in this ‘hood 😉

  3. Roxie Kellam says:

    I decorated other kinds of trees in the past – bamboo, ficus, etc. whatever I have. I think that Jesus would be just fine with what you come up with.

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