This morning I took a seat in the sun room with my cup of coffee. A favorite CD by Sufjan Stevens was playing and the Christmas tree was glittering in front of me. Buddy sat at my feet and David was laying a fire in the next room. Suddenly I was overcome by emotion.
David walked in the room, saw my tears, and hugged me. “I just want to stay”, I said. He hugged me harder and responded “we want you to stay”.
I just really like being here. And as I was contemplating the Christmas tree, it occurred to me what a metaphor for life it is. Take a tree, a living thing, beautiful in its own right, but made even more glorious with each carefully hung ornament. Each of those ornaments represents a moment, some accidental, some particularly sentimental.
There is the victorian birdcage that belonged to my grandmother. The clothespin doll I made when I was a child. August’s little wool sheep. Jemesii and Peter’s delicately handcrafted snowballs and icy little planets; each adorned with miniature figures. And the occasional bulb found at a thrift store; someone else’s Christmas memories.
Some of the glass balls are so very delicate, and every year as we are decorating one or two are fumbled and broken (usually by me). Should it be a particular favorite, we might be sad, but never for long. There will be others. The entire process requires a fair amount of concerted effort for something which is in existence for such a brief time, yet we would never forego it.
And then, in a moment, Christmas has passed, the needles are dropping, and it is time to retrieve each ornament and return it to its bed of tissue paper. Stripped of decoration, the tree will be dragged to the brush out back, where it will become a temporary perch for small birds and animals.
The ornaments, however, will be unwrapped yet again and carefully hung on other Christmas trees for years to come. Eventually, those that are not lost or broken, will be handed down to our children. Just like our memories.