The Eve is upon us. A squall line laced the bare trees with snow last night. As we drove through the higher elevations, I marveled about how that light brushing of snow creates the illusion of winter. We’ve had temperatures hovering around 60 this week, and torrential rains have raised the Susquehanna enough to swallow up her islands. The grass on the fairway of the golf course in Wysox is still green, though no one was playing when we passed.
A sign along Route 6 said that the next right would take us to The Best Holiday Light Show. We didn’t turn. That was because we once saw The Best Holiday Light Show for real. There was a neighborhood outside Kansas City, MO, where the houses were clustered around a small lake, which was split by a road. Someone in this neighborhood had started decorating with strands of lights in a different way, and once the neighbors saw the effect, they all joined in. This involved baseballs, strings, lots of men standing around throwing things into the trees, and some really good pitching arms. One end of each strand was caught high in a branch, and the plug end was stretched tight, secured to the ground and joined with other plug ends into an extension cord. The lines of lights made random straight crisscrossing patterns in the bare trees. Strand after strand, all different, and yet echoes of each other, until a landscape emerged not unlike a mountain range above the houses, and reflected beneath them in the lake as well.
We drove over from the Kansas side to see this display, and as we crested a little rise in the road, the lights appeared and we gasped. I do not believe in heavenly hosts, but I have to admit, if there ever was a gathering of such beings, bringing tidings of great joy, it would have looked something like the ethereal landscape of that night.
NOTE: That night was ages ago, before we had cellphones, before LED lights and noxious music-choreographed displays involving animatronics. We took no photos, but I expect the effect would have been lost in translation. Because Kansas City is known for its more traditional lighting displays, I’ve never been able to find anything about the neighborhood online other than a mention of the display by someone who was inspired to try the method in another state. Perhaps the neighborhood, like a sort of Midwestern Brigadoon, arose for us only on that night, and then sank back into the mists.