Tuesday, December 22, 2009

20 photos of Christmas, Day 17 | Santa, with a significance

This Christmas display was the simplest, most different, most meaningful one I have seen all season. The bird on the neighboring bush just made the photo more interesting.

Note: Because I was raised in New England, Christmas is different in Florida, but it's still Christmas nonetheless. And I need to convince myself of that. So, in the next 20 days, including the holiday itself, I intend to find Christmas here in Brevard County and portray it through a different photo each day.

Today's edition is, by far, my favorite yet - mainly because there's a story behind it.

I was driving along Croton Road near Melbourne's Mallards Landing Golf Course when something caught my eye. On Trevino Circle, one of the three intricately trimmed bushes beside a house was topped with a Santa Claus. On a second, a holly tree, a bird lit on its apex. I stopped, parked on the street and took a few shots with my new fixed 105mm lens.

A man walked from the front yard and asked if I thought the sight was a little out of the ordinary. Yes, I said. He began to relate a story about how the Santa was placed on top of the tree, facing the north-northwest, because that's where Santa flies from. You know: the North Pole, of course. On Christmas morning, the man would take the Santa down, symbolizing that Jolly Old St. Nick had come, deposited his presents and continued on his merry way.

But, the homeowner said, Santa was the only element of the completely tricked-out house he typically sets up for Christmas. He used to decorate the entire home with white lights; the only colorful things were Santa and Rudolph's red nose.

"I wasn't in spirit this year," he said.

"Why?" I asked. "The economy got you down?"

I was ignorant. His wife died around this time last year, and he wasn't in the mood to deck the home this season, after doing it throughout their 21 years of marriage. The man pointed to where his wife wrecked her car after suffering an aneurysm, right across the street next to the golf course.

But this time next year, the widower said, "It'll all be back."

Earlier editions
Day 1: A lighted bush and the bokeh effect
Day 2: The city tree at warp speed
Day 3: Lights' reflection on a retention pond
Day 4: More than just seasonal colors
Day 5: Golden lights during the golden hour
Day 6: Four Christmas trees and one giant ornament
Day 7: Future Santa Claus
Day 8: Ornament on a Charlie Brown-style tree
Day 9: Stars in the east during the Geminids
Day 10: Historic building a reminder of home, literally
Day 11: Cocoa Beach welcome tree at sunset
Day 12: A tree and a fountain
Day 13: The season's simplicity through children
Day 14: The secret to reindeer magic: smoothies
Day 15: A church cross at sunset
Day 16: Getting close to a ribbon with new lens

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