We took our Christmas tree down last night. Some would say it is a late for that. The tree should have been down by now. But of course we like to put off the truth of the holidays end. We are all back to work after all and Christmas is packed away with all the other stuff of family life. But one can not help but think of the fading moment as the ornaments go back into tinsel strewn boxes. Sad that those candles and snowmen and shiny globes of cheer should not see the light of day for another year. Some feel a relief. There is no more work of the parent and life resumes it's regularity. For the rest of us it is the door to childhood closed once again. If Christmas is for children then we are allowed into their world only at Christmas. But we are older and those ornaments stand now as memories of past Christmas and people we have lost and people we no longer see. We remember them for a moment as we take out a particular ornament and hold it, flashing back to a different time when a first snow and the smell of a fire stood for so much more. This is a hard thing to get your hands around without drifting into sentimentality. But there is that moment in the attic when the boxes are laid to rest and you turn by the door. The brown cartons are stacked in the gloom and you pause, knowing then you are just a little bit older, maybe a little further away.