We put it all away finally. It took three days and I broke yet another ornament doing it but we finally got it all put it away and I miss it already.
Our tree was so nice this year, tall and fragrant, though we never did get many ornaments on the top branches. We weren’t tall enough, not the four-year-old nor the seven-year-old nor the two grown women helping them.
It was beautiful to us and that’s what counts. It kept reminding me of that scene in Stephen Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage where the main character flees from the terrible slaughter and enters the hush of the forest, which seems to him a kind of cathedral with its high arching trees. They are fir trees as I have always pictured them, like the little fir tree we had this Christmas.
The first week it was up, its fragrance wafted over to you the minute you walked in the room. Even the second week it still brushed gentle against your hand, soft like the muzzle of a horse. By the third week I had to come very close to get that sweet wild scent, and… Well by the time we took it down yesterday, it was raining its needle down all over us and the two floors it crossed on its way out the door.
That’s when my gaze fell on an ornament I had somehow failed to notice when we put the tree up on December 10th.
Can you read what it says on it, the heart-shaped one that looks like a cookie?
It says “We miss you.” My then-eight-year-old made it for someone who couldn’t be with us one year, and doesn’t it speak to the way I feel today, I who couldn’t wait for all the holiday hub-bub to pass! (Humans, huh?)
And so the holidays ended. The year ended too and a half a second later another year began. Here’s how the sun looked yesterday as it rose over one of my favorite spots on earth courtesy of the Winnipesaukee Weather cam. Beauty before us and beauty behind us. Beauty all around us if we can just remember to look for it.