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Lights with memories

December 29, 2011

Rowan's Fern
Thinking about this winter’s seasonal celebration (see how I skirted around one of its issues?), I am impelled to write something down…

There is always such a discussion in this household about “getting a tree”. Sometimes we’ve had a cut tree, with all the angst that goes with killing something that did not -need- killing; the tree’s resulting revenge of shed sap and needles infesting everything far surpassing the pleasure of its scent and stature. Sometimes we’ve had a live tree, planted as soon as the ground was soft, not always a successful transplant. Sometimes we’ve had an artificial tree, now lost in the dusty depths of time and … maybe that was a garage sale.

For many years we’ve just done without. Oh, maybe bring in a few tree-donated fronds for some natural green and scent, but that’s about it.

However, I always do something with lighting: strings of lights high and low, maybe a goodly display of candles in lanterns and a smattering of olive oil lamps.

It’s true that I’ve switched to LED lights from the old ones, and my candles are more often beeswax than paraffin, but the lighting remains. There is a special quality in the contrast between the outside dark, cold and wet/snowy weather and the bright welcome in the warm house that goes beyond the simple physical qualities. I’m sure it’s primal.

There is more…

The horizontally-strung LED lights usually get ornamented.

Memories accompany each ornament as they are lifted from the ancient gift-wrappings that protect them, making them doubly precious: the baker’s clay ornaments (“Joy”, “Love”, wreath, heart) from a nephew 4 yrs old, now with children of his own; a ceramic Old Man Winter from a gift exchange with a few friends still dearly cherished in my heart; four delicate laser-cut wood ornaments from a craft fair, bought by my DH (who -never- does this sort of shopping!); six yarn-and-popsicle-stick gods-eyes made by one of my sisters and me during one blustery winter’s evening; a few golden balls that adorned the wedding table of a dear friend; and more…

I have limited appreciation for my boughten commercially-made ornaments, no matter their charm or splendor; however, those treasures handmade by friends and family, or otherwise tied to heart-warming memories, are at the heart of -my- celebration!

May the joys and blessings of the season be yours now and always…

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