We have two Christmas trees--first of all because we have more ornaments than one tree can hold and secondly, because I like White Pine and Bern likes Spruce. So one is in the living room and one in the dining room, near the long windows in the front of the house. There is a rocking chair that sits near the doorway from the dining room to the living room where you can sit and see them both. The White pine has colored lights--one inexplicable strand of which blink--and the spruce has very proper Cheshire white lights. Colored lights--especially if they blink in any way--are considered gouache or gauche (which are the two spellings my spell check gave me though I suspect only one of those words means 'tasteless, which is what I mean about 'proper Cheshire lights).
The lights and ornaments are long gone--shortly after New Year's Day--but the trees remain, still healthy and thriving, so far as I can tell. I smelled the White Pine tonight while I was moving through the crowded dining room--most everything from the kitchen is there since we had a new floor put in the kitchen last week. And it smelled like Christmas--or the forest or a Frabreeze pine spray...well, not really, those sprays don't smell like a forest at all, or even a tree. They smell like what they are: chemicals meant to smell like pine.
Anyway, after I smelled the pine tree I took the dog for a walk and in the melting snow we saw the most amazing sight. It was a dandelion, all fluffed up with those little seed wings that blow away and go make more dandelions. I touched it and it was frozen solid. It had just reappeared from the snow that melted today and I was astonished. I would have stayed there and wrote a sonnet in my head about the dandelion in the snow if the dog hadn't been ready to move on and do what most people politely call 'his business'.
Long-lived Christmas trees and frozen dandelions...it is a wondrous world we live in, after all!
K and B were married this afternoon. They are both small people, fragile almost, but exquisite for that. Perfect little images of a bride and a groom--as lovely as pine trees and dandelions...she as embraced in whiteness as any dandelion about to be blown away. They are sweet, dear people and I can only pray they have a life together that is long enough to have too many ornaments for one Christmas tree and a relationship strong enough to have two Christmas trees if they like different kinds. And I hope the smell that fills their lives is of a pine forest and that the joy they know is like the giddy feeling of a white dandelion against their faces. And I hope they'll have a dog to walk in the darkness and a new floor or two to love.
Bern and I were married in 1970. You could do the math...this year will be 40 years. Neither of us has the energy to do anything new so I guess we will make the 'death do us part' moment.
Those are awesome, if not aw-ful vows: better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness or in health...'til death do us part. And they vowed to both 'love' and 'cherish'. CHERISH is such a remarkable word and such a profound concept. To 'cherish' is 'to hold dear', to adore and to honor. Can't do much better than that. Love, I tell couples preparing for marriage, much to their horror, "comes and goes". It just does, like all emotions. But we have a choice in what we 'cherish'. We can choose what we 'hold dear'.
Tonight, for me, I cherish my life, my marriage, Christmas trees, frozen dandelions and Puli dogs to walk....