Saturday, December 10, 2011

Less Pomp than Circumstance

   Our Charlie Brown Christmas tree is now in full regalia, and my heart is overflowing.

   Three days ago I mined through a heap of decorations while smarty pants blogger M Half, in town for a birthday surprise for a mutual friend and staying at the farm, sat in my living room doing professional things on her laptop and reading aloud to me wonderful, witty blog posts and articles. I listened and chattered out my thoughts, she read to me her own carefully crafted responses, and we laughed. I continued decorating Charlie, drank copious amounts of perfect coffee, and sometimes made her yummy things to eat. Together we resisted the melodious urgings of Bobby Pacino, our resident blue and gold macaw. This bird is very seductive. And distracting.

   M and I might have solved a few social crises. At least betwixt us two. We mostly luxuriated in the mellowness of the day. We definitely shared an appreciation for the hopefully mythical flavor of hotdog-water herbal tea. Periphery, did you make that up? 

If you have never had an intelligent friend sit captive in your home 
and read to you mind-nourishing bits and baubles,
please find a way to make it happen. 
It helps if she has a pleasant voice and similar gastric appetite
and can follow your errant trains of thought nimbly. 
You can borrow M Half now and then,
so long as her Hubs agrees.

   As mentioned last week, Handsome and I decided to take a milder path with Christmas decor this winter, starting with our tree. What we did not predict is the friendly debate that would be sparked by the culling of a live tree from our forest. If you missed it, check out the comments on this blog, following my December 6th post and then chime in! I'd love to hear what more people think!

   This is one of the best byproducts of blogging. I am so thankful to have a reader like Nadya who will share her feelings like that, just as I am grateful to have a husband and girlfriend who are both willing to defend me, although I never for one millisecond felt offended. Nadya raised excellent questions which need to be asked and regularly. Namaste. By the way, I'd sure like to learn about Christmas traditions in South Africa! 


   Our chosen tannenbaum, sparse in branches and very slender at his trunk, offered up lots of space for fillers when first we propped him up in the living room. But his branches are on the weak side of strong, so while I craved to wire up pruned boxwood, Bradford pear, and dried oak tree branches, that was simply not possible, The poor little guy would have toppled.

   So I collected from around the house as many dried flowers and ancient rose bouquets as I could find. I also added broken up bits of tumbleweed, dried hydrangeas, crispy golden gladiolus leaves, and feathers from our own birds. You know, lightweight pretty stuff. Things that evoke romance and warmth and life. Things that glow with my favorite colors, too. Plus maybe seventeen store-bought ornaments in only three colors.

   In lieu of an angel or star for the tree topper, this year we're enjoying something we find equally beautiful and equally meaningful. I twined up a bunch of tumbleweed from western Oklahoma (where the Lazy W ranch brand was originally registered by Handsome's great-grandfather) dried sage (a wild herb used by Native Americans in purification ceremonies) and tail feathers from our beloved, recently deceased Tom turkey, Sir Clark Grievous.

   So our Christmas tree is symbolically crowned with family and state heritage, delicate natural beauty, a yearning for purity, reverence for other cultures, and  affectionate nostalgia. Clark's feathers in particular represent all the precious people we continue to love and miss desperately. More importantly, though, his feathers prove that our home is still made beautiful by love even though some of the people we love are not here right now. 

   I am not trying to make you sad. 
We are actually less sad than I expected to be this month. 
We have very strong faith and hope 
that things are as they should be for now 
and that the future is still brimming with miracles.

   Of the eight boxes of tree, mantle, and house decorations I excavated from the attic after Thanksgiving, I have used less than two. The rest is now either back in the attic or waiting at the top of the stairs.

   The restraint feels amazing.

   We are still surrounded in lights and colors and holiday mood; we're just not drowning in it. Instead, we have room to breathe and love. We have room for new memories. And maybe for a few of those longed for miracles.

Hoping your tree is meaningful to you
and that you fill your home with your own beauty.
Merry Christmassing


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