Monday, December 12, 2011

Wreaths and garlands

My house has one outward decoration for the passing world to see; I made the eucalyptus wreath for the front door, clipping pliable branches from our huge trees out front. The wreath is small. It's always too small, but it's flush. The stems I chose for its construction were supple, so they hadn't turned a wizened brown but still had a vibrant burgundy hue. Unfortunately, they were also short. The newer leaves are tinged with rose, so the wreath is sagey green and shades of red - softened Christmas colors.

I make the wreath, because it reminds me of my parents and of Tennessee. My parents rolled wreaths to make a living in the winter, and Dad also made one huge briar or grapevine wreath to hang above our own front porch for Christmas. He strung it with green lights, and our neighbors across the creek would tell us how brightly it shone through the trees along the bank and across Spann Road.

Dad's wreath was huge, impressive. Mine is small and fragrant. But they're connected. I'm keeping the ritual, you see. I'm honoring the Ghost of Christmas Past.

Just as when I strung popcorn on a long stretch of thread last week. I was feeling down, bluesy, but the act of pushing the needle through the stiff kernels and then of pushing them down into place was peaceful and reminded me of my mother. I remember her patience in teaching me to string the popcorn as a child, and this garland of popcorn links me to her and to her calm spirit. And now it's my turn to supervise my children as they help me finish the garland one string at a time (it's still not done). I told my husband that I thought the puffy white garland looked surprisingly elegant. "That's a stretch," he responded. Well, he's not the one putting all the work in, is he? Anyway, it does look a tad more elegant than the red and green construction paper garlands my kids and I usually make.

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