Our Christmas tree is very homespun and eclectic, with no design scheme what-so-ever. Handmade creations, made by artists of all ages, hang amid mass-produced ornaments received as gifts and in stockings over the years. There are ornaments my husband made as a child, with his aunt or at a neighbors house, and there are ornaments I made with our children. There are both colored and "tiny white twinkle lights" because there is no consensus in the house as to which is better. Dotted around the tree are my favorite mid-twentieth century glass bulbs. I have only a few, but I love they way they reflect the sparkling lights - white and colored.
The styrofoam ornament above is one that my husband made as a child. It is hanging on the tree next to an ornament our youngest son made at preschool last year, and above one that his aunt crocheted early in our marriage. At Christmas time, the years and memories of our family are all stitched together, homespun and heartwarming, like a patchwork quilt.
I have been listening to Sarah McLachlan's Wintersong cd most often this holiday season. The tranquil mood it sets is just what I need to balance the hectic calendar that arises from children's musical programs, work Christmas parties, and other committments. My favorites, though it is so hard to pick, are Sarah's Wintersong and her cover of Joni Mitchell's River. You can listen to some snippets of this music here:
Shifting patterns of cloud keep changing the mood of this day. When the clouds cross the sun, the day is shadowed and one believes easily that more snow is on the way. When the wind moves the clouds away from the sun's bright face, the sky is vibrantly blue and the light glints off the snow that blankets the ground. I see evidence of the slow-turning of the year, as the stalks that supported last summer's wildflowers and the autumn's bountiful seedheads rise, pale and brown, above the snow. I wrote this haiku in one of the sunlit moments of the early afternoon. The photos I've included show both the shadows and the light of early December in these northern hills.