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.