A Tree Notwithstanding

Is it the post-past two years of pandemic malaise, or is it a sign of the changing times?  Don’t know, just feel less than enthusiastic about the season. 

It may be that recent events have shaped my mood – you know, the highly anticipated, very beautiful but oh-so-heavy snowfall that pulled down branches, split two of the lilac trees and somehow extended its mayhem into our home, down the stairs, into the basement where it toppled our fully decorated holiday tree.  Ok – that may have been somewhat unrelated but still, it was quite a coincidence wasn’t it?

The tumble broke so many treasures, but many survived like innumerable crocheted snowflakes that just seemed to drift onto new branches or even twine themselves in the angel’s netting – um, her name is Arabella by the way.  It broke the one green glass ornament that my niece had sent to us many years ago and caused me to screech and run to see if my mother’s blue ornament from her mom’s tree was intact – yes – and then, sniff, the fall shattered the painted egg from 41 years ago which I made to mark our first Christmas together with.  Shattered.

You can “read” our holiday tree. The story always begins with a trip to the local tree farm to find, yes, the perfect tree – Balsam of course.  Selection takes a while and often involves hot chocolate or hot cider.  Once home, it rests for a day in the stand getting used to our basement, our cat and our stories.  Then there are the lights: warm white not blue or multi-coloured, placed in loops of glow – just right. Next, open the cardboard boxes – one special one that was my mother’s from her home and our growing up time; then a box of my favourites fashioned over the years by us and by friends; then the snowflakes, so may snowflakes.  The culmination is the aforementioned Arabella, the angel we found over 40 years ago at a craft show in Place Bonaventure in Montreal.  She is wearing antique cotton garb, stained I think with tea (possibly English Breakfast), masses of white (greying) flossed hair and two glass eyes that seem to follow you around the room.  All of this tumbled to the floor a week before Christmas Day.

To remove myself from the throes of deep sadness, I collected all the pieces/fragments and started my own dance with eggshell tesserae – a mosaic of pieces to be fixed onto a wooden heart and adhered with coats of lacquer – ok, Mod Podge.  It took two days but somehow that alleviated my sadness.  My partner says future archeologists will wonder at the intricacy of it all. There’s a lesson here, focus on what you can do, not on what has happened. I reclaimed us.

So I say to you, celebrate however you can!  It’s important to embrace each day and those seasons we set aside as respite from the cacophony around us – that won’t go away. Who cares if here in the east we are forewarned of rain and potential ice on Christmas Eve eve, and yes, it just might change all our plans, but that’s ok – we’ll plan for another day!  Then another!

No drama here, just a message.  You are loved, and missed, but oh-so-present at this time of the year, tree notwithstanding.  Although standing is best.

Create many joyful, future memories in the new year – well, why not?

Author: Heather

Welcome to my interpretation of what a garden is. Beyond the blooms, shrubs, trees and weeds outside, I see "garden" encompassing a creative life, daily musings, the challenges that lurk and the joys of everyday adventure and wonder.

2 thoughts on “A Tree Notwithstanding”

  1. Hi Heather, I’m so sorry about the tree and the broken ornaments, a reminder about how unpredictable things are. I loved your recovery tree especially the top piece and the snowflakes and the red balls. It makes me miss decorating this year. I also loved the recovery mosaic you made. Best wishes for the new year.

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    1. Paula – all the best for you in 2023 as well! We don’t have large family gatherings here in Almonte as everyone is a ways away, so pulling out seasonal festooning helps. I am hoping to fly west next year to have a table gathering with folk there. Hope all is well with you and you’ve settled nicely into the new community. Big hugs and hopes for crossing paths at some point.

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