I learned a few things today. First, my new boots, Justin work boots, are terrible for climbing up hills and down hollows. I will not be wearing them out in the woods again, although my sliding around brought the girls great laughter.
Second, I learned that I can pass the baton of decorating to the girls. They can do just about any thing I can do, maybe better.
Every year, Rob decorates the outside of our house to rival our very enthusiastic neighbors’ efforts. We value excess over tastefulness in this neck of the woods. I am willing to bet the power usage of Helena, AL equals that of New York City at Christmas time. It is considered flat-out un-American and un-Christian, in that order, to not light up around here. So, we do evoke Jesus’ challenge to be a good neighbor and all.
Since I was little, I, however, have decorated for Christmas with my now gone to glory, Nana.
Nana was a Garden Club guru and would have never decorated with anything not living, in season and from her or a dear friend’s yard. We did not use fake, anything. We did not buy flowers. So, in honor of Nana’s memory, neither do I.
I think no less of any of you that may do so, but I do not.
So every year, I cut greens in Athens at homes where I can find just what I need. I cut greens in Helena at a few neighbors, I cut greens in my yard, which I despise as you know, and I cut greens in the small stash of woods behind our house. Today, we stomped that stash. We climbed trees to get just the right flow of berries, we clawed our way up steeps, we slid down hollows and captured in our sacks all the flora the earth would offer.
Then the girls took over, they could do it, this year, they claimed. I handed out forms and pins and watched them go to work. They fearlessly trimmed, wound and bunched greenery and pressed pins deep and hidden beneath a former sprig. They composed with magnolia and cedar, pines and hemlock. They punctuated with cones and seed pods and berries of blue and red. They polished with sprays of spruce and left their signature, bright green mosses.
I could have done no better. They have the eye…and the patience to find the gifts this earth gives, presses right out of the ground toward us who would look and receive grace.
I hung their greens, proudly, displaced my earlier ( I had a dinner party) effort to a less noticeable station, and gave theirs the place of entry.
My Nana would be so proud of their scratches – we grow thorn a plenty round here, and their souls’ offerings back of beauty.
They are already planning where to tromp next year to spy out new trophies, considering new greens that they should garner and dreaming up new offerings to bear.
As the greens are duly hung, let Christmas come.