Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Winter Wonderland

I live in a highrise in Dallas, Texas overlooking Lee Park, which I consider Uptown Dallas' crown jewel.  I live where I do because of the park.  When I first walked into my condo and looked out the wall of glass that is my living room and saw the park, I knew that this was where I wanted to live.
Each year at Christmastime the trees in the park are wrapped in festive lights and there is an annual tree lighting ceremony.

The first time that I attended the ceremony was 5 years ago, the first year that I lived in Dallas.  I walked over with a few of my neighbors. We stood in front of Arlington Hall and listened to or joined in with a choir that was singing carols.  Several volunteers passed a warm holiday wassail and cookies, and we greeted and met other neighbors from our Turtle Creek community.  We were awed by the fairy tale beauty that the park takes on when the lights were lit.
A few changes have taken place in the park over the past five years, most of them good.  The paths have been extended and paved, a beautiful gazebo has been added, a natural spring tapped for a waterfall, and more planter boxes and seasonal blooms added at each corner entrance.
Our tree lighting ceremony has also changed.  I cannot say that I am thrilled with the way it has evolved.
I really didn't like it much when they added fireworks to the ceremony. Had we confused our holidays? Wasn't the lighting of the trees enough?  Shouldn't we have that moment to stand in hushed awe and feel the magic of it all?
And why did the kids need a movie?  A large screen set up in the park, with all the cords and speaker and noise that is involved.  Don't kids get enough TV and video at home?  in the theaters?  Shouldn't there be some events where we teach them about quiet, peaceful joys?
Oh, and this year we had a dejay.  I love dejays and they did a fine job.  But wouldn't a choir or carolers have been a closer fit to the spirit of the season?
Our park is a walking park, with paths, not roads.  This year I was shocked to encounter 5 cars parked on the paths.  I think maybe there was a raffle for one.  I was too disgusted to check that out, but I heard a loud annoucement that said you could test drive one.
There were kiosks set up on both sides of our beautiful, historic Arlington Hall that were selling things, or demonstrating things, or giving you a chance at a carnival-like game.  Wasn't the State Fair enough?
Well, okay, maybe a big tent where children can have their photo taken with Santa is a nice touch.  But does it have to be so blaringly lighted and with tables to sign up for things? or goodies for sale?
Maybe everyone else likes these changes.  Maybe I am too old, or too old-fashioned, but I cannot help but think that we are missing the point by commercializing all of our celebrations.   I don't believe that everything is better because it is larger, brighter, louder.
This year I turned around, walked home, and sat on my balcony with a friend and a warm cup of wassail.  We listened to Christmas carols and watched the lights come on.
Tomorrow night we can take a walk in the quiet enchantment of our neighborhood park.

1 comment:

Sue said...

Hi Mary Ann -- thank you for sending your blogs! Very interesting and different perspective about the the Lee Park holiday celebration. I look forward to our dinner at Rise. Sue K.