Refractions and Reflections

  • Post published:12/17/2009
  • Post comments:7 Comments


While reading and enjoying my morning coffee I looked up to see this flame reflected in the framed map on the wall opposite me. And opposite the south windows where I have hung chandelier crystals to catch the sun sending rainbows dancing across the room, for a little while every day. As we come closer to the Solstice we are all more aware of the sun, and the diminishing hours of light and warmth. But there was the flame. Precious and persistent.

This morning the temperature was 4 degrees at 7 am. The coldest morning yet. The sun was shining through frost flowers on the windows. They will not last. 

Twenty years ago, after my mother’s death, my brothers and I had to share out all her possessions. When we went through her condo we finally got to a big storage closet and way in the back, were boxes and boxes of old Christmas ornaments. Ornaments from the 40s and our childhood.  My mother was much given to buying new tree ornaments every year, but I never gave any thought to what happened to the previous year’s collection, much less the collection from decades before. But there they were, enough sparkly, shining ornaments for us each to take several boxes and extending our personal histories as reflected in our Christmas trees.

Our current tree reflects nearly 70 years of family history, my mother’s ornaments, Henry’s mother’s bead garlands, ornaments the children – and grandchildren – made in school, ornaments from the craft shop I once owned, and small sequined stars we  bought in Beijing and hung on the osmanthus that stood in as our Chrismas tree that year. There are ornaments we made for a Gourmet Club tree (with a large decorated angel cookie for a topper) at an Artspace Festival of Trees, as well as ornaments given as gifts, often with a strong barnyard theme, chickens and pigs. Each ornament reflects the family, our interests, and our friends and community over the years and decades of our fortunate life.

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Tinky

    Great tree, scenery, and insight……

  2. Kara

    Beautiful photos and thoughts. Thank you! Looking forward to our Swedish-themed dinner! Happy Holidays.

  3. What a treasure trove those ornaments were. They are beautiful and so special because they were your moms. Your tree is lovely, thanks for sharing.

  4. Kate

    I love the frost covered window! Beautiful!

  5. Ramble on Rose

    I love the memories generated by old family Christmas ornaments. When my husband and I started our own household I raided the boxes of decorations to take some with me. And that iced-over window is fabulous!

  6. Lisa at Greenbow

    Your tree is gorgeous there holding all of those precious memories.

  7. Corner Garden Sue

    I like your reflections and refractions. When I got to the part about the ornaments it brought back memories. We live in the house my husband grew up in. Each of his siblings took a few Christmas decorations, but we ended up with most of them. I love the glass ones you have. We have some like yours, too.

    Oh, you asked if I have tips on growing angel wing begonias. MIne are happiest when I don’t let them dry out between waterings. I keep them outside in the shade when the nights are staying above 50 degrees F. Inside, they don’t want too much light. An east or north window works. I have to turn them periodically, so that the leaves don’t all face the same direction. I so end up forgetting to keep them moist, and they lose some leaves. They don’t bloom much in the winter, either. The one I showed, is almost finished, and I assume it won’t bloom again until spring or summer.

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