For the past week or so, it has seemed more appropriate to wish you a Mele Kalikimaka than a Merry Christmas. While palm trees are not swaying at Farm Dover, the temperatures do feel more like Hawaii than Kentucky. Rather than hunkering down for bowls of warm soup and mugs of hot chocolate, Ed and I have been out in the fields in our shirt sleeves planting seven new paw paw trees, two buckeyes, a wild plum, two persimmon trees, a blue spruce, and dozens and dozens of daffodil bulbs.
We took advantage of the warm weather yesterday to buy not one, but two, balled Christmas trees. We planted one in the side field and the other, we'll haul up to our front porch and decorate with some simple white lights. It will stay there until Christmas Eve when we will move it inside for a day or two. Mary and I will decorate it (or not) on Christmas Eve. Last year, we decided that it looked just fine with the white lights and no ornaments.
Those who know me know that I don't like to decorate the house for Christmas. Don't ask me why, but it seems to me that red and green bows and garlands just look junky. I like them in other people's homes. Just not mine.
But in an effort to be more festive and try harder with my decorations, I moved the big wooden bear down from the mantle and replaced him with a wooden swan and a stoneware crock sprouting some bare branches. I cut some cedar branches with berries and tucked them under the goose. I stood back and looked at my creation and it made me slightly claustrophobic. I tossed the branches into the compost. To my way of thinking, the mantle looked better without them. Maybe I'm turning into a minimalist.
This morning, I unpacked our 1940's-era manger, with its chipped chalkware figurines. Despite its imperfections, I find it perfect.
I'm still looking for the perfect spot for my other favorite nativity. This one I inherited from my mother. She loved Christmas and always went all out with her decor. I don't know where she got this little piece of pottery. Growing up I don't remember seeing it. It appears to have been fashioned by a child. There is Joseph, leading the way. Mary on a donkey, holding Baby Jesus in her arms. After their child was born in a lowly stable in Bethelehem, the family returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. "And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him."
"...That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."