Entering the Mystery
Our Christmas tree this year looks more like an argument than a natural element, as if it was put together by a tipsy worker at the tree farm who thought it would be hilarious to use up all the leftover bits on something creative.
The poor thing has not one, not two, but three major trunks vying to be the point that holds the star. In their rush to the top, the branches forgot to fill out, so the body is full of big holes. It’s also a slightly inverted triangle, actually a bit wider at the top than at the bottom, which doesn’t make for tremendous stability. As I sat looking at it in disbelief the first day it s-l-o-w-l-y fell over and came to rest gently on a nearby window. “If you’re trying to escape,” I muttered, “I’d be glad to help.” (And just to be clear, I am Not the Person Responsible for bringing this thing home.)
I have never had to use a saw to “trim the tree” before, but now that the thing has been pruned somewhat, hung with lights, dangling globes, and glittery stars, it doesn’t look so bad. The big spaces make it easy to see the ornaments that we’ve collected over the years. I find that I especially like the way that the three wise men ride their camels through branches that, hung with lights, look like arms of a spiral galaxy. Or maybe the branches are lines of music and the lights are notes because when I look at the kings, music starts to fill my head and suddenly I’m lost in a daydream of the Silk Road.
And that’s when I find a way inside this season of velvety darkness that wraps us and holds us close. The darkness and the spiral and the lights are full of wonder and mystery, the music is too, and it all whispers that there’s something more behind, beneath the surface of every day.
Ah, the mystery. Now I remember. It was a constant friend when the bottom of the tree was at eye level. Now it takes longer to remember.
This holiday season may we each find a way to remember the mystery and a way to get inside it, perhaps through a song, or a star, the smell of cardamom, or maybe even a crooked tree that’s full of lights, full of music, right there in your living room.