I sometimes think of December as the gleaming, steel toothed trap on the calendar, and I wake in the late November darkness and lay resigned, knowing that it waits, just around the corner.

I love the twinkling, tiny lights spilling from porches and eaves; the soaring mandolins and searing piccolos tumbling from speakers more often accustomed to twanging guitars and thumping bass; the notes of cheer overflowing in my post office box; and the toasty scents of rum, vanilla, and almond wafting from the oven.

But I despise the fleeting hours of daylight, and the sunsets that come before the work day is even done.

I loathe the gag gifts, mostly crafted in China and immediately destined for the landfill.

At times, I resent the incessant call for frivolity that accompanies every moment up until December 25.

And at other times, being my more-often-than-not positive, festive self, I revel in it.

Then, I hate feeling conflicted.

But mostly, I abhor the empty seats at the dining room table, like lifesize mirrors, reflecting Howard and Pa Pa and my beautiful quasi-godmother and that darling boy I loved in college and fun loving friends from high school and Little Bob, who first made me feel welcome in Babb, the town I now call home.  All gone to me, now.

And as my fingers move across the keyboard, I give myself a stern talking-to about half full glasses, gratitude, and attitude — all maxims I adhere to — but as the days slip past us, into December, I can’t help but give voice to what I know consumes so many of us, the fear of the trap.

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