"In every walk with nature one receives more than he seeks."
John Muir

Sunday, January 1, 2012

But Where Are the Pine Trees?

I always loved decorating the house for Christmas with fresh greens.
This meant putting on boots, hat and mittens and taking a brisk walk
out into our snowy yard or the adjoining woods. There were countless, tall and
fragrant evergreens--firs, pines, and spruce.
I returned to the house refreshed, pink-cheeked, covered in pine pitch
and oh-so-happy!
I often made my own garland by wiring boughs together into long strands.
Each tree produced an abundance of assorted pine cones,
from very small cedar ones to the long White Pine cones.
I'd bake them in a low oven so they would open up into full, beautiful cones
then I'd tuck them into the green branches along the many window ledges,
tops of furniture and stair railings.
The house smelled like fresh outdoors. Ahhhhhh!

So, when the time came to decorate this year,
I gazed out the windows at trees that looked like this:
Lovely, I know.
But this would work for autumn decorating, not Christmas.
What to do?
I was sad and uninspired. I longed for the northern woods,
the crunch of snow underfoot, the sticky pitch on my mittens.

Someone recently sent me an email which included the following quote:

Life is not the way it's supposed to be . . . It's the way it is.
The way we cope with it is what makes the difference! ! ! ! !

So, I guess I needed to cope with this better.

I looked beyond the autumn leaves and...

in the tree just beyond, the Live Oak (Don't laugh, that's the official name.),
clumps of mistletoe grow. And they just started blooming with these waxy, white balls.
Before moving to Texas, I'd only seen plastic mistletoe hanging in doorways...
This was the REAL thing!

In our front yard are several pretty holly bushes that also happen
to be blooming right now, covered with cheery, red berries.

I rushed to the garage to grab the clippers and dragged in an armful.
Little vases filled with with the holly and mistletoe looked
festive and seasonal.
I began to hum the tunes of the familiar carols, my spirits lifting.

Once I started, I was on a roll.
Back out with the clippers, I cut branches of cedar,
rosemary, winter berries of some bare tree and more holly.
The fragrance was fantastic as I stuck them in that floral stuff
and built up the "bouquet" around a tall, fat scented candle.

A few little red balls and a match and voila!
God's natural materials (mostly) turned into a pretty centerpiece.
My hands smelled like rosemary and the table looked nice.
Sometimes I just need to rethink things and cope better.
Beauty comes wrapped in different packages.
And it's all beautiful.


  1. I love this post. Only took seven years in Texas for you to get here. There are always the hard parts to adapt to everywhere we are. May there be something every season that can bring you such joy.

  2. you did a good job! carol e