Anne Notations

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Tree house

For a while it seemed we might actually have a year without a Christmas ... tree, that is. All of our holiday stuff was jammed in the back of the basement workshop room, marooned there by the flotsam -- tables, chairs, storage boxes, old books -- of the October flood that ruined the carpeting in our big main basement room.

Last Saturday I couldn't stand it. I moved some things, tugged at others, and began lifting out big Rubbermaid cartons of Christmas decorations. The jingle bells went on the front door; the strand of silver-clad angels was looped over the top of the ornate wall mirror in the front hall. Later, Michael brought up the tree itself in all its fake-green glory, and installed it in the living room next to Mom's old slantfront desk. It took me more than two days to decorate it. Now our tree is radiant (see pic, above).

An artificial tree was not my first choice, but it is an acceptable compromise that we agreed on several years ago after Michael had sawn and whittled the trunk of a live tree one too many times in a maddening attempt to fit it into the metal stand. Our high-end permanent tree looks fine, and our days of sticky pine pitch and prickly dropped needles are over. Alas, banished also is that sharp balsam scent that wrinkles your nose when you walk into the house, not to mention the endearing imperfections of a natural tree. Who could forget the fir we selected at a tree farm in Little Compton (c. 1979) that was so crooked and hunched, we nicknamed it "Quasimodo"?

Whether freshly cut or whisked out of storage, a Christmas tree is magic for me. I like to sit in the living room at night with all the lights off except the tree lights and a flickering candle, listening to soft Yule music on the stereo. The Druids were onto something, and I appreciate that the earthy dark mystery of an evergreen has been linked for several centuries now with our celebration of the holy Child's birth in a bed of straw.

And I thank the Christmas tree for inspiring e.e. cummings to write this sweet, lyrical poem.

Drawing by Walter Feldman


little tree
little silent Christmas tree
you are so little
you are more like a flower

who found you in the green forest
and were you very sorry to come away?
see i will comfort you
because you smell so sweetly

i will kiss your cool bark
and hug you safe and tight
just as your mother would,
only don't be afraid

look the spangles
that sleep all the year in a dark box
dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine,
the balls the chains red and gold the fluffy threads,

put up your little arms
and i'll give them all to you to hold
every finger shall have its ring
and there won't a single place dark or unhappy

then when you're quite dressed
you'll stand in the window for everyone to see
and how they'll stare!
oh but you'll be very proud

and my little sister and i will take hands
and looking up at our beautiful tree
we'll dance and sing
"Noel Noel"

To all who celebrate the day: I wish you a bright and happy Christmas.


  • Beautiful pic of the tree! I'm so inspired now, I'm going to put my tree on my blog! Thanks!

    And I loved the poem!!!! Merry Christmas!

    By Blogger Melissa, at Fri Dec 23, 03:53:00 PM EST  

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