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Thursday, April 03, 2008


Since the age of two, I have felt that birthdays are overrated.

I walk to work on my birthday as on other days; it is simply another day of my life. My path takes me past a few cypress trees planted as part of a hedge at a bowling club. The scent of the cypress leaves transports me instantly, painfully, back to the Christmases of my childhood:

Our Christmas trees were always a bough cut from a cypress tree. It was planted in a steel drum that was painted glossy John Deere green and filled with loose, sandy soil. It was decorated, beautifully so, with only ancient tarnished tinsel and tiny candles. It was placed in the huge circular lounge in the house of my grandparents a few days before Christmas. The scent of the bough permeated the entire house. On Christmas Eve, the candles were lit and the hot molten wax dripping from the candles onto the leaves filled the room with a heady cypress perfume as the family gathered around the tree, singing carols and giving presents.

I realise, suddenly, that Christmas is also the celebration of a birthday.

And overrated as such.

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