Waiting, with lights

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is an Advent tree, not yet a Christmas tree. Last Sunday we wove two types of lighted strands through its branches: warm incandescents, whose light reminds us of stars in the sky, and cool LEDs, whose light appears Advent blue and whose bulbs make us think of icicles.

For a week now the tree has cast a soft glow over the living room, the space in our house where we work and play. When I was a child, I would spend hours beneath our tree, staring up through the branches and imagining I was looking at the stars through the canopy of an evergreen wood. The enchantment of tiny lights has never entirely worn off; I suppose it’s one of the reasons I also love fireflies in summer.

Tomorrow we will add another layer of meaning to the tree in the form of ornaments or garland, depending on what box comes out of storage. When the children were small, we made paper chains for garland every year. They drew pictures or wrote on the strips of paper, and I tore off countless small pieces of tape for them to secure the ends of the links. It’s a kind of miracle, you know: simple circlets of paper interlock to form a chain of any length. Sometimes we each made our own chain before joining them together to create a single chain long enough to encompass the whole tree. You wouldn’t have seen it in Better Homes and Gardens, but our garland always seemed more beautiful to me than the most elegant tinsel.

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4 responses to “Waiting, with lights

  1. I remember lying under the tree with you, sis! It seemed so large and we so small. It was magical!

    • Indeed! Mom and Dad must have thought we were daft. I suppose they were kind of used to it, though: this was just another point on the spectrum of weird things I was prone to. Thanks for sharing your recollection! 🙂

  2. I love lying under my Christmas tree – even into adulthood. It’s not quite the same lying under an artificial tree, though, as it is under a real, live, wonderful-smelling tree with its unpredictable branches pointing this way and that way! Thanks for reminding me to do this again. It’s been a while! Merry Christmas, Bearclaws!

    • Because I’m married to an engineer, we have a tree stand with a Very Large Base that is SUPER stable and has a ginormous water reservoir, which means that there’s not much room under there for my head. Also, my head is bigger than it was when I was a child, so the branches tend to poke me in the face when I try to lie underneath and look up. Finally, we always had an artificial tree growing up, so I never got needles stuck in my hair and down the back of my shirt like I do now that we always have a real tree. All that being said, it’s still magical. I just don’t spend as many hours at it as I once did. (Have the kids joined you under the tree yet?) Merry Christmas to you and the rest of the fam!

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