Friday, December 23, 2011


“And so this is Christmas, and what have we here? “

Today is the day, before the day, of the big night for Santa to fly. For some strange reason I have felt so disconnected with the whole myth, mass retail sales generated hysteria, that this year that I have, for once, totally failed at Christmas hoopla, so far . Long time my favorite time of year with all the trimmings and lights, this time the recent stress of things has been more than I have been able to whip and so…few presents are under a tree, ( a cedar which we nabbed off a friends property around the corner), and my spirit isn’t exactly bright yet, but I remain hopeful for a turn around and feel it coming. It will be what it will be. It always is. It is, and will be soon, Christmas.

We were awoken this morning, not to the sounds of rheindeer on the roof, but to the low rumbling sound of a delivery truck, this time its goods being the blurb book Mark had ordered for this year’s accounting of my scribbling on my blog. He had done the same last year, gathered up all my cyber writing, and had it dumped into hard copy, real pages of words and pictures on real paper. This year’s gathering was not as large as I had not had the time to indulge in the freedom of writing as I had enjoyed the previous year, but here it was, 2011, a year in my life.

Writing a blog has been an interesting project in the past two years that I have posted these journals. Since I was a very little kid, I have written, though have never thought of myself as a writer, and have filled pages and note books full of pages with thoughts and musings, short stories, whatever came into this head of mine and felt somehow it needed to be jotted down. So once again now I see in a hard form, these thoughts from this past year, and read them and remember.

These books that Mark has had published will again be Christmas gifts for folks in the family. They are windows to my soul, and equally mere recordings of the happenings of a life in this place and time, and will perhaps serve to some future generation what life was like, for me, for us, on the farm, and all the inclusive events that make up what we call our days and lives. On one hand I am embarrassed to share but I am reminded that history belongs to those who wrote it down for posterity, and to that end I wonder what my granddaughter, and her children after her, will think when they read these journals long after I am gone. I hope it will give them an insight, to what I am not sure, but perhaps it will help them better know where they came from.

But back to this previously referenced tree that presently stands in our living room. It was not exactly stolen, but it is the first tree that I can remember having not paid anything for. We had asked permission of our friend Ray to cut one off his land and he obliged, and so we did. On Mark’s birthday eve, we took a saw and went off to nab us a tree. We had decided, with our youngest daughter’s suggestion that we refrain from purchasing a fir or spruce tree as par our usual, and go for a cedar, an old school basic, the tree of our childhood Christmases. And so we stalked our 2011 tree, and found it standing in a dried grassy field across from the Interstate exit nearby. Mark sawed it down and loaded it in the truck. Out in the field, what we thought was roughly a six footer or so, once indoors very surprisingly turned out to be more like sixteen feet tall, and nearly touches the open two story ceiling of our living room.

We drank bourbon eggnog and decorated this monster from the floor and from the balcony above it. Its delicate branches made decorating it a bit different from the heavily branched, store bought trees of our past years, as ornaments had to have careful placement to not droop and fall off. To find room for the really heavy ones, some of which I had made by hand out of bread dough over thirty years ago now, they had to find limbs close to the trunk, resulting in a very three dimensional quality to the tree as opposed to the stiff feel of the previous trees. This tree has been graced with old school ice-cicles and is topped with a cloth quilted version of a red tailed hawk, which I sewed about the time I made the ancient dough ornaments and which is the common sight in this part of the state where cedar trees in open fields are the perches for these birds to hunt from. I think it is my favorite tree, of all that we have had in a long time. It has a very nice feel to it, and Jack, the terrier, thinks it is both an ideal water bowl source and a place to hide under.

There are still a couple of things left to wrap, but it will be no where near the opulence of the usual spread of loot. This Christmas is about healing our hearts, and welcoming our new grand child into the traditions of the holidays. These will be new traditions beginning, as the old ones have changed in the course of the past months, and it is time for new ones to take their place. The decisions of whose house to eat which celebratory meal at and at whose home are gifts shared and unwrapped is a bit up for grabs at this point, and will evolve, especially now with the newest member having the biggest say in it all.

And so this is Christmas. It is again the time of sharing, giving, reflection, and for looking forward. It is a moment when grownups can relive childhoods through their recreation of the traditions passed down from previous generations, and pass it all along. We all still want the pony or puppy with the big red bow under the tree and secretly hope that Santa will grant our wishes. One of my favorite ornaments on the tree this year, is a snow globe type thing with a big draft horse pulling a sleigh full of happy folks with a lit up lantern as they perpetually trot through the snow, with writing on the bottom that says, “The joy is in remembering…” This year I will take that more to heart, and savor the season.

Merry to all, and to all, a good year.

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