A couple of weeks ago I wrote the following:
A postcard scene greeted me this morning–a lovely snow-covered streetscape, flakes clinging to the least little twig. For a brief moment this pure white blanket conceals the ugliness of life in the inner city and surrounds me with peace.
The birds–so far only sparrows–have discovered the feeders I filled last night. Their flutter and flurry delights me and excites my middle-aged cat, who himself erupts into bird-like noises.
Then all became chaos–Christmas rush even though I do not go to malls and avoid that madness at all costs. But there are people to visit, letters to write–you know, real letters, with paper and ink–folks to help, memories to contemplate. . . . And the lovely snow lingers.
My mother would have been 89 yesterday. Reminders of her are especially strong as I unwrap decades-old Christmas ornaments that she passed on to me, creating a “house full of sugarplums” just as she did every year. Yesterday I wrestled the old bottle-brush Christmas tree out of the garage and into the house. Living out in the northern Indiana countryside, we always had a real tree. One year, after I left home, they decided to get an artificial one–and this is it. Admittedly, it is rather tired and certainly not especially realistic, but draped in splendor with lights and ornaments and memories, it is a true Christmas tree. A few delicate ornaments of the thinnest glass from Germany, brought over by my grandmother’s family over a hundred years ago share space with homemade oddities from friends who had more art than money to give at Christmas, and how I cherish these! There is a marvelously-rendered fountain pen of cardboard given by a starving artist to a starving writer, a nicely crafted sled made of ice cream sticks from an older gentleman who helped me get started on some of the carpentry needed for the 110-year-old house I live in, an embroidered teapot commemorating my efforts to save the cherished L.S. Ayres Tea Room. . .
I close with a poem I wrote a long time ago:
Snow-covered city dripping sun-sparkles.
Comes the season
Rush rush the people
can’t see the pretty season
Too busy worrying about Aunt Martha and what will I give her–
not more than she gives me, how embarrassing.
Spirit flits about
opening hearts here and there.
Rush rush it must hit all it can.
comes to those the spirit enters–
rush rush give all they can
‘cause it’s wonderful you know
and who cares if they get anything
back ‘cause they already did.
Smile at the frantic people ‘cause
sometimes they stop long enough
to think and then the spirit can hit them.
Ding ding go santas on corners
give and smile and feel good.
Eases your conscience doesn’t it.
It’s nice this season.
Don’t you wish it could last.