I don’t mind taking down the tree. 
 It has served its purpose. At first it was a welcome holiday guest but it took up a lot of room and finally, I confess, I wanted my living room back. I began to miss the sunlight through the big windows and the space to move past the rocking chair without squeezing sideways.

I feel much the same way about all the ornaments we’ve collected over the decades. Like hosting dozens of well-behaved little children who never make a peep, never grow any bigger, but it’s time to go, kids. I treasured each little angel and snowman as they let go of the tree. I wrapped them lovingly in last year’s saved-up tissue paper to be stored away in a cardboard box that once brought us oranges from Florida. My favorite is the miniature bird feeder, a tube the size of a birthday candle with holes and perches occupied by small cardinals and sparrows, munching on birdseed no bigger than poppy seed. It’s given an important spot up front, year after year.

After the tree was dragged outdoors today, I swept up a green mound of fallen needles, including one glittering strand of tinsel. Tinsel has not been hung from or tossed onto our tree for several years; this one must have sneaked out of its Florida oranges box somehow after a long stretch of incarceration. Tinsel will not disappear. Before, back when we hauled the old tree over to the bushes at the property boundary, some tinsel blended in with the shrubbery until a nice summer day when it began to send out an SOS to those of us soaking up the sunshine. I don’t like reminders of December in July.

This year’s used tree is now rolling around on the front lawn in the breeze, a tumbling tumble tree. But its life is not over. It will go from here to protect a dune or feed a goat, whichever opportunity comes first — one of the things I like about our new sensibilities.

On with the new. It threatens to be an interesting time. For many Island friends, happier than last year, I hope.

I like to think that years from now, family members who are familiar with these old ornaments will continue to hang them from new trees that aren’t even seedlings yet. The tree this year has a new star on top from Rainy Day. The old star came with a clip that bit into the top upright twig. But last year the clip broke and the crippled star remained in the box, hoping for some sort of redemption.

Aren’t we all. Happy new year.

Eileen Maley lives in West Tisbury.