Sunday, December 27, 2015

A Tale of Criminal Wrongdoing

I imagined an Arlo Guthrie, Alice's Restaurant, type scenario, Christmas day trespasses, an officer of the law, embarrassing explanations and shaking heads. I was, after all, too old to be taking part in such illegal activities.

But the circumstances were unique and I would be fool not to take advantage. So, as Barry (his name has been changed to protect him from unintended consequences) and I drove up the length of private road to our destination, I fervently hoped that no one had taken notice. We moved up a short hill and then into one of the spots designated for invitees. Of which, on this particular day, we were not. 

Christmas day is a time for sleds, hot cider, reindeer and fireplaces. It is coming face to face with the reality of winter. It is a moment to hunker down and tuck in. But not this day, this time.

I was surprised to see we were not alone in our nefarious thoughts. As I opened the car door, I was greeted warmly by another criminal in the making. There were perhaps a half dozen of us, or slightly more, all with similar intent, all in the right place at the wrong time.

It seemed that winter had not awoken from its slumber. The grass which was supposed to be the ugliest shade of pale, was instead filled with mid summer radiance. The trees, which had shed their leaves were not shivering against descending cold, but basking in an unexpected warm embrace. If the birds had not flown south out of habit, there would have been no rationale for leaving these environs. And the clothes which were intended to blanket us from the ravages of the Christmas chill, were languishing in the closet untouched and unloved. 

I pulled our weapons of choice from the trunk of the vehicle. The others nearby, similarly situated, were in like process. We stared at each other in disbelief, mumbling words of wonder, almost chortling at our good fortune.

Barry and I were both anxious to begin. But, unlike the rest, we thought we should stay out of sight, away from where our crime could be noticed. So, we headed farther away from the main road, while those more bold moved back towards where we entered.

We were soon alone in our undertaking. Nothing stood between us and our violation of the rules of the game. It was astounding in its peace and open spaces. A kind of Christmas miracle.  And then, just like that, we were off, wandering up and down hills, through woods, to places intended and not. This was exactly how it was meant to be, as right as it was wrong.

And in our enterprise, we created variations on the theme, playing our parts in two part harmony. For much of the time, we placed self restraints on our abilities, reducing our choice of options from 14 to 2. There was unbridled freedom here, and joy in the capacity to do what was prohibited. 

As we grew more comfortable in our wrongdoing, we headed towards the main road and open spaces, where our trespass would be evident to probing eyes. But we were almost done with our adventure and there was but one more play to be made.

With the last stroke of good luck, or skill, Barry emerged as the winner of the contest which he and I had undertaken. And what really had been the wrong we had committed? 

Arlo had come to dump his trash, only to find the Thanksgiving holiday stood guard against this happening. And so, he had in fact unceremoniously left another landscape pocked with his garbage. But though Christmas day acted as apparent barrier to this golf course, what Barry and I had done did no damage and created nothing more than an indelible memory December 25, 2015 in the Berkshires. A crime was committed on the Egremont golf course. Move over Arlo, there's a new tale to tell.

No comments: