Friday, December 11, 2015


We have a most Charlie Brown Christmas tree this year—little and crooked (caddywampus, that fine word), but at the same time brave and big-hearted.  I'm not sure what its message is to me, but I'm the one who chose it out of its fellows, and brought it home to be our days-of-rain-and-darkness cheer.

It holds all of our favorite ornaments, gathered over the years (from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to Lucca, Italy), and tiny colored lights that reflect also in the window glass, seeming to light the small shimmer of eucalyptus growth outside.  Seeming to add themselves to the raindrops, pooling in wet colors against the gray December day.

I felt sad at first, when I saw it in place, thinking "it's much too small—" and "we deserve better."  
My panic is, I think, at life itself, the narrowing of time and means, the need to pull in, be at rest where we have come to be, love what we have and not crave what we haven't—a grand Victorian in old Palo Alto with twelve-foot Balsam fir or Noble fir or Scotch pine in the bay window downstairs, old English sheepdog at its foot on polished wooden floors and Telemann on the Bose speakers . . .

But that way lie dragons, disaster.  Though our cottage is icy and rented, it smells of clementines, it speaks volumes of lives richly and intensely lived, of friends and love and inner warmth—things chosen for ourselves and gifts bestowed by life in generous mood and sometimes mischievous.  Caddywampus says it well, and that's a good way to go on.

image:  Charles M. Schulz, A Charlie Brown Christmas

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