A few years ago, I would haul out the ladder and hang lights all over the manageable-sized flowering crabapple out front. Then I would get one of the menfolk to do the same to the walnut tree. The crabapple grew. A tree-trimming crew came by a couple of years ago, and pruned it in a most unattractive way while ignoring the vast swaths of holly oak all up and down the street.
I turned my attention elsewhere. The photinia bush was a good roundish shape perfect for festooning, requiring no ladder. It was so friendly to this sort of thing that I hung Halloween lights over it later in the year. And, as these things turn out, I would leave the lights from year to year. At Christmas, I would plug in the multi-colored lights, at Halloween only the orange ones. It worked for several years.
This afternoon, it was balmy. I did some light pruning of the photinia, then plugged in the Christmas lights. Big dark spots where some strings didn’t survive the weather. I couldn’t find where the strings connected to each other. The bush was all criss-crossed in the center the way it shouldn’t be.
It was time to dismantle. I forgot how early darkness comes in December. By the time I located the third string of Halloween lights, looped at the base of many-forked branches, it was hard to see. Then there were the hopelessly tangled sets (four) of Christmas lights, all dusty and pollen-y from the pine tree above.
By the time I pulled all of them out, it was suppertime. I got two strings up, one with half the lights not working. From the street, it looks pretty dark, except for the lower three inches.
But they are a spectacular three inches. Tomorrow there will be success.