parading the light

by rebecca on December 9, 2010

Post image for parading the light

            Today my altared space is the parade of lights. I finally got to be IN a parade. My smile from ear to ear proved that this experience did not disappoint the 40 years I’ve been anticipating its arrival. Why is a parade so exciting?

            I’m a sucker for community. Seeing everyone preparing; arriving on the homemade floats and gathering to pass out bags of candy and determine who’s gonna sit where in the beds of pick-up trucks simply thrills me.

           I was walking with our local ski area, Powderhorn. The folks with a plan had brought ski poles to which we attached snowflakes and waved them at the crowd. I’m sorry to be such a dork, but this little bit of bangle really wagged my tail.

            I live in a one stop sign town. I drove 40 minutes to get to this parade where the population might be 80,000. But every one of those people came out on this mild winter evening. The streets were jammed and happiness was the thing on parade.

            Little kids lined the street with their hands out in hopes of high 5’s. Parents pointed eagerly so children clutched in their arms wouldn’t miss a sparkle. “Merry Christmas” hung in the air at every turn.

            And everything was Lighted up.

            There were LOTS of sharp looking marching bands.

            One of the things I adore about a small town parade like this is the great lengths to which people will go to transform ordinary life into something extraordinary. This is an ATV (something everyone here uses on their ranch to help change over irrigation ditches) turned Candyland Express. I love being witness to someone’s weekend entertainment because I would guess this project united the person inside with someone they love. And I love Love. It was palpable at this parade, and made me merry.

            There were floats of entertainers. These ladies were singing. There was also a float of tap dancers and they made the huge bed of the semi trailer bounce as they time stepped.

            Tons of dogs populated the parade and lit up people’s faces. Many dogs were wearing lights.

            This was the biggest reindeer you’ve ever seen. And, frankly, he didn’t look very happy. He looked kinda mad. The woman next to me suggested that was because it is hunting season. We laughed.

            When I finished being “in” the parade I found a place to watch the remainder. You have to understand that I am a believer. Consequently I tend to find Santa everywhere I go. As you will notice, he was standing next to me as I settled in to gaze with merriment. His wife was as charming and warm as you’d expect Mrs. Claus to be.

            I went to the parade with my daughter and her friend. We were so Lighted up as we left we were pouring giggles. We took extra time driving home oohing and ahhing at the neighborhood lights. When we pulled up to a stop light we ran a Chinese Fire Drill, running two complete circles around the car before piling back in just because we were that full.

            It was an evening that seemed to keep raining Light, everywhere I turned. That’s what this holiday season is about, right? A flood of joy and smiles and parents clutching kids pointing out the sparkles. It is my wish that you will have a parade of something perfectly merry march through your street this December.


            Have you ever been in a parade? What makes you light up? Am I the only one who gets a thrill from anticipating the arrival of Santa at the end of the parade? My heart still does that little girl leap right to the center of my adam’s apple.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristen @ Motherese December 9, 2010 at 11:22 am

What a magical evening! Thank you for sharing these photographic and mental images with us.


rebecca December 9, 2010 at 11:35 am

Magical is the right word.


SuziCate December 9, 2010 at 1:11 pm

I miss hometown parades…the ones here in the city are just too crazy with all the people and traffic snags to get to them. I also miss Christmas pageants! Thanks for sharing your lovely lights. I haven’t even gone out through the neighborhoods yet to enjoy them. One of my friends wants to ride our bikes through one night…ooooh it’s too cold…maybe I can persuade myself with a cup of hot chocolate!


rebecca December 9, 2010 at 7:01 pm

Oh SuziCate!

Now I just feel like I want to BEG you to get on that bike and then blog! You always give us such great tours of your travels. You’ll be cold for such a tiny bit of time…and there’s all that new fleece! While the memory will last a lifetime.

Please, please!!


Aidan Donnelley Rowley @ Ivy League Insecurities December 9, 2010 at 9:49 pm

Oh what magic! Thank you for sharing these words and these pictures with us. And I particularly love the phrase “pouring giggles”!


Stacia December 11, 2010 at 11:29 pm

I think I’ve marched in too many parades with frozen hands and toes to really feel their magic any more. Granted, it’s been years (YEARS!) since high-school marching band, but that’s the first thing I think of: how long it always took my extremities to thaw. Now, watching a parade from home in my pajamas with a cup of hot chocolate? Happiness indeed.


rebecca December 12, 2010 at 9:43 am


The high school band director was looking for cymbal players my senior year. I wanted to do it. My choir director talked me out of it. He convinced me it would take away from my focus on his program. In retrospect, this was a choice that was good for him and bad for me. I really, really wanted to be in a marching band and cymbals were my only shot at it. This was me making up for that. But, on the plus side, none of my memories are frozen. Enjoy your cocoa.


6512 and growing December 13, 2010 at 12:19 pm

I love parades too. Especially in our small town, where like yours, everyone goes all out and it seems sort of old fashioned and yet so snazzy at the same time.


rebecca December 13, 2010 at 6:50 pm


I like the word snazzy. I’m gonna parade it around a bit today.


Yvette Francino December 16, 2010 at 9:14 am

Oh, how beautiful! Yes, I was in the Denver Parade of Lights once and it was a wonderful experience! I got to get all dressed up in this gardening costume and have my face painted and walk alongside a big beautiful float with giant flowers. There’s a huge warehouse filled with costumes and floats for the Denver Parade of Lights. You have to sign up early to be in the parade and I haven’t done this for several years. But your post reminded me of how much fun it was, so I will give myself a reminder to try and get in next year!

And, as always, your photos are beautiful! I, too, am a “believer” and look for Santa and love all the lights and symbols of the beautiful season. I’m going to blog about your post today as part of my “looking for love” theme!


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