Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The days of Christmas -- past

Yesterday and today the Christmas tree is being undecorated. This morning I noticed that the ornaments that had looked so happy and festive while on the tree, now stacked on the table, waiting to be put away for another year, have become a jumble of happy memories.

Christmas tree ornaments fill the table
Christmas tree ornaments fill the table
Photo by J. Harrington

There's a handful of Winnie-the Pooh ornaments, perhaps because at least one family member has long been a devoted fan of a certain hunny-luving bear. Several dozen angel ornaments accumulated over the years as Daddy has given one to his little angel each Christmas. That self-same Daughter Person did most of the tree decorating this year and did an admirable job. Possibly time for Dad to take the training wheels off.

From the years when the Better Half and I were leading more active outdoor lives than we have been for a few years now, there are painted glass ornaments with geese and ducks plus carved chickadees and a deer hair(?) penguin that looks like a bass bug gone astray. There's also a mix of straw ornaments and felt and cloth and metal and the usual glass balls and icicles. Since this is Minnesota, there's a dose of Scandinavian flavoring that's developed among the ornaments over the years. Fortunately, some of those ornaments have dates written on them. Others I have to guess at when they first arrived, or rely on those whose memories are clearer than mine. Often, aren't shared memories the most enjoyable of all?

Helping to ease any post-holiday blues, we know that, although presents have been opened and now are put away, Christmas cookies have been reduced to crumbs, and the tree is standing forlorn and almost naked, great horned owls and coyotes are busy making eggs and pups, respectively. Christmas, Solstice, is a season of transition and transformation. The light is gone, the light returns. Celebrate the light and the return of life it brings.

Childhood Stories

By Matthew Rohrer 
They learned to turn off the gravity in an auditorium
and we all rose into the air,
the same room where they demonstrated
pow-wows and prestidigitation.
But not everyone believed it.
That was the most important lesson
I learned—that a truck driven by a dog
could roll down a hill at dusk
and roll right off a dock into a lake
and sink, and if no one believes you
then what is the point
of telling them wonderful things?
I walked home from the pow-wow
on an early winter night in amazement:
they let me buy the toy tomahawk!
As soon as I got home I was going
to hit my sister with it, but I didn’t know this.

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Please be kind to each other while you can.