Christmas is doing itself this year. I have surrendered to the environment.
Several powerful windstorms have come to visit us in our first winter on San Juan Island. Days as dark as night. Pinecones pelting windowpanes like sleet. Downed branches and trees crisscrossing roads and paths. And that incessant hum…
I have trouble falling asleep with the winds. And then I don’t know where I am when I awaken.
I am learning that living on the water is much like living on a boat. At high tide our concern is that the bank will hold. At low tide we breathe a sigh of relief—that is when we fall asleep, I think. In my dreams we’ve been swept away, much the way I feel when anchoring for the night.
“The florist delivered again!” I exclaim, as I throw open the front door in the morning. Each day after a windstorm I find fresh branches at my doorstep, from which I cut boughs to freshen our mantle, tuck onto gifts, and make arrangements with greens, pinecones and winterberries.
All the roads are softly covered in cedar and pine needles after a windstorm, as soft and quiet as a snowfall. At our front door a foyer rug of navy, salmons and green is perfect for hiding the needles coming in on every boot. Who knew?
The rug was a gift from my parents. Windstorms whistled when they lived on Cape Cod. When the wind whistled everyone wanted to come downstairs to sleep.
Interesting, a whistling there. A deep, low humming here.
Back to Christmas.
We cut down our own little tree on our property. In the house it speaks to me, telling me what it wants.
“Forget the totes full of Victorian and Venetian glass ornaments you collected over the years,” it says. Suddenly all of that is an heirloom.
“What I am is a woodland tree.”
I knew that.
Rummaging through my totes for birds, pinecones, vines and icicles, I found a few. It doesn’t get on my tree now unless it comes from the forest.
The beauty of the woodland tree is in the minimalism. It speaks of the scarcity of winter.
(note to self: don’t go overboard collecting these ornaments either).